Stephen Haas

Stephen Haas

Associate Professor
University of Cincinnati


I’ve been working inn several areas lately: 1) I have an R&R under re-review at the Journal of Pediatric Nursing with a former advisee in the UK PhD program on Parental Uncertainty in Illness, 2) I’m working on publishing a minority diversity paper that I’ll present at NCA in DC on the significance of living together and the importance of marriage in same-sex couples based on a national sample web-survey (47 states; N = 705), and 3) I’ve just finished a book chapter on a new computer-mediated communication theory we’ve labeled Online Negative Enabling Support Group (ONESG) Theory.  The theory emerged out of a study myself and several co-authors published in New Media & Society in 2011 on the pro-anorexic movement.  This current chapter highlights how ONESG Theory may be expanded and applicable to other online health communication groups that promote negative behaviors (e.g., anti-abortion ONESGs, self-injury ONESGs, etc.).

Keywords to describe work

Social support, uncertainty management, online negative support groups, patient self-advocacy, LGBT couples

work in relation to symposium keywords

The words methods and theory relate most to my work.

I combine Quantitative and Qualitative methods in most of my research.  Also, I have taught research at the graduate level for 12 years, and now teach it at the undergrad level as well.  I believe methodological rigor is key to advancing accurate knowledge.

Most of my research has resulted in creating new theory or furthering existing theories.  Thus, a central focus of my work is advancing theory.

Participation Questions

  • How do you explain/define what you do to medical personnel and/or other stakeholders in the research process or to the public

Because most people do not know what ‘Health Communication’ is as a field of study, I usually say that “I study doctor-patient interaction and families coping with chronic illness, like cancer or HIV/AIDS.  I focus on relationships and the exchange of social support.”

  • How would you describe the relationship between medical rhetoric/health communication (however you see yourself) with other fields and sub-fields (e.g., rhetoric of science)?  For example, we struggled with what to name the symposium.  Some suggested medical rhetoric, but that doesn’t comfortably fit some from Communication nor from English Studies.  In other words, how do you align what may be a specific focus with broader disciplinary concerns and tensions?

Health Communication seems to be a more inclusive term than Medical Rhetoric.  Rhetoric implies verbal or written exchanges that are meant to advance a position or persuade others of an agenda.  Health Communication includes medical rhetoric, but also addresses other types of message exchanges in the area of health or health care.

  • What other keywords would you add to the list above (connections, dissemination, ethics, methods, and theory) and why? (no more than three additions)

Interaction/Exchange — Communication is so much more than “dissemination of information”.  One of the biggest errors medical professionals make is that they think they can give patients information in writing, and they have “communicated”.  Communication requires mutual understanding achieved through reciprocal exchange of messages.

Translation — One of the biggest areas of need in medicine and health communication is the ability to translate abstract research concepts and advanced-level information into messages that that can be more easily comprehended in message exchanges with the lay public.  Comprehension feedback from the public is essential.

Communication Competence/Empathy — In order to competently communicate, one must be able to empathize with others and imagine how messages will be perceived.  As a result, one can more effectively create/exchange messages that have the potential to achieve mutual understanding.


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