Vivien Shuo ZHOU 周碩

Associate Professor

Vivien Shuo Zhou (Ph.D., Cornell University) is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University.

As a researcher long immersed in technology-based health communication, Dr. Zhou’s research integrates disciplines of communication, social psychology, public health, and information technology. Her expertise lies in developing and evaluating innovative mobile health (mHealth) interventions and theory-based communication strategies for health promotion and reducing health disparities. Her studies have been supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT).

Dr. Zhou also investigates the persuasive effects of various communication strategies and the psychological mechanisms of how people respond to health-related messages, including using narratives to reduce psychological reactance, maximize personalization, and activate unconscious health goals. These studies have been published in top-tier communication and public health journals, including Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, New Media and Society, Communication Monographs, Health Promotion Practice, and Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Research Interests

Health Communication
Narrative Persuasion
Mobile Health (mHealth)
Virtual Reality
Cognitive Psychology
Just-in-time Adaptive Interventions


Zhou, S. and Shapiro, M. (2022). Impacts of Character Morality on Egocentric Projection and Identification. Poetics. doi:

Zhou, S., Villalobos, J., Munoz, A., and Bull, S. (2022). Ethnic minorities’ challenges in the pandemic and perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine: A qualitative study to inform COVID-19 prevention interventions. Health Communication. doi:

Li, Q., Fernando, R., Valverde, P., Zhou, S., Amura C., Peterson, K., Palusci, V., Lynette, F. (2022). Preventing intimate partner violence among foreign-born Latinx mothers through relationship education in nurse home visiting. Journal of Nursing Management. doi:

Zhou, S., Li, Y., & Levinson, A. H. (2021). A cross-sectional national survey to explore the relationship between smoking and political abstention: Evidence of social mistrust as a mediator. SSM-Population Health, 15, 100856. doi:

Zhou, S., Levinson, A. H., Zhang, X., Portz, J. D., Moore, S. L., Gore, M. O., … & Bull, S. (2021). A Pilot Study and Ecological Model of Smoking Cues to Inform Mobile Health Strategies for Quitting Among Low-Income Smokers. Health Promotion Practice, 22(6), 850-862. doi:

Ingle, M.P., Valdovinos, C., Ford, K.L., Zhou, S., Bull, S., Gornail, S., Zhang, X., Moore, S., Portz, J. (2021). Are patient portals being used to support palliative and end-of-life care? A scoping review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(9), e28797

Ford, K. L., Portz, J. D., Zhou, S., Gornail, S., Moore, S. L., Zhang, X., & Bull, S. (2021). Benefits, facilitators, and recommendations for digital health academic-industry collaboration: a mini review. Frontiers in Digital Health, 3, 31.

Aitamurto, T., Stevenson Won, A., & Zhou, S. (2021). Examining virtual reality for pro-social attitude change. New Media & Society, 23(8), 2139-2143.

Zhou, S., & Shapiro, M. A. (2020). Effects of Egocentric Projection and Identification on Narrative Persuasion in Foodborne Illness Messages. Journal of Health Communication, 25(12), 931-942. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2020.1868627

Zhou, S. (2020). Using Virtual Reality to Promote Physical Activity. Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, 13, 312-326. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2020.1311021.

Hubley, S., Moldow, E., Robbins, C., Harper, B., Martin, C., & Zhou, S. (2020). The Impact of Entertainment Education for Social and Emotional Learning in Elementary Schools. American Journal of Health Education, 51(5), 299-309.

Portz, J.D., Elsbernd, K., Plys, E., Ford, K.L., Zhang, X., Gore, M.O., Moore, S.L., Zhou, S. and Bull, S. (2020). Elements of Social Convoy Theory in Mobile Health for Palliative Care: Scoping Review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(1), e16060.

Yang, J., Li, Q., Zhou, S., Xi, Z., Luo, X.W., Song L. (2019). Tobacco Control Regulations in Cities in China, 2006-2019. Capital Journal of Public Health, 13(5): 172-176. [Chinese]

Ford, K. L., Moore, S. L., Zhou, S., Gore, M. O., Portz, J., Zhang, X., Zane, R, Wiler, J, & Bull, S. (2019). Advancing evidence-based digital health through an innovative research environment: an academic-industry collaboration case report. mHealth, 3.

Aitamurto, T., Zhou, S., Sakshuwong, S., Saldivar, J., Sadeghi, Y., & Tran, A. (2018). Sense of Presence, Attitude Change, Perspective-Taking and Usability in First-Person Split-Sphere 360° Video. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’18), 1-12.

Zhou, S., Shapiro, M. A., & Wansink, B. (2017). The Audience Eats More if a Movie Character Keeps Eating: An Unconscious Mechanism for Media Influence on Eating Behaviors. Appetite, 108, 407-415. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.10.028

Zhou, S., & Niederdeppe, J. (2017). The promises and pitfalls of personalization in narratives to promote social change. Communication Monographs, 84(3), 319-342. doi: 10.1080/03637751.2016.1246348

Zhou, S., & Shapiro, M. A. (2017). Reducing resistance to narrative persuasion about binge drinking: the role of self-activation and habitual drinking behavior. Health Communication, 32(10), 1297-1309. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1219931


2022 Usability Testing and Optimization of a Smoking Cessation App: MO (PI), funded by the Mobile Applications for Connected Health (MACH), US$15,000
2021 COVID-19 Nudge Chatbot (Co-I), funded by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, US$149,874
2021 Development of Videos and a Chatbot System for Smoking Cessation (Co-I), funded by the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) program, US$83,000
2021 Interactive Virtual Reality Narratives for Young Adult Latinas to Prevent Future Cervical Cancer Disparities (PI), funded by the Department of Community & Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health, US$30,000
2021 Pragmatic Implementation Science Approaches to Assess and Enhance Value of Cancer Prevention and Control in Rural Primary Care (Co-Project Lead), funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), US$15,000
2019 Using Virtual Reality to Assess the Impacts of Environmental Cues on Craving among Low-Income Smokers (PI), funded by the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI), US$30,000
2018 Identifying Environmental Triggers of Smoking Behaviors in Low-income Communities to Improve Smoking Cessation Among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations (PI), funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), US$30,000

Media interviews

Dr. Zhou’s research has been featured in The Wall Street Journal.