Dr. Maria Len-Ríos

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor, Public Relations

About: Dr. Len-Ríos teaches public relations and cross-cultural journalism courses. In 2016, she co-authored a textbook,”Cross-Cultural Journalism: Communicating Strategically About Diversity,” with Dr. Earnest Perry (Routledge/Taylor& Francis. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781138784895 )

View Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Journalism, University of Missouri
  • M.S., Journalism, Grady College
  • B.A., Speech, International Studies and Spanish Literature, Macalester College

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Len-Ríos’ research focuses on inequalities in public relations and health communication. Together with colleagues and doctoral students, she has earned more than 9 Top Paper awards in national and international academic conferences across multiple areas – public relations, health and science communication, mass communication & society, popular culture and magazine research. Len-Ríos has collaborated on interdisciplinary grant work, including a Washington University/Missouri School of Journalism NIH Center for Excellence in Cancer Communication Research. She has also been lead PI on the LASER project through the MU Mizzou Advantage program. She is an affiliate of the MU Center for Children and Families Across Cultures as part of the LASER collaborative, which is dedicated to studying the well-being of U.S. Latino adolescents. In addition, she serves as an inaugural board member of The Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland (2014-2016).
Dr. Len-Ríos is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, the International Journal of Strategic Communication, Communication Yearbook, and The Howard Journal of Communications. She serves as a member of the Publications Committee for the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (2013-2016), which oversees the flagship journals of the association. She is a former head of the Communication Theory & Methodology Division of the AEJMC (2007-2008).  She is also a member of the International Communication Association and the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Romantic motivations for social media use, social comparison, and online aggression among adolescents Maria Len-Ríos

Abstract: This study examines whether adolescent motivations for social media use, social comparison tendencies and gender are related to online aggression victimization and/or perpetration. Results of a hierarchical multiple regression conducted on data from a national cross-sectional survey of middle adolescents (N = 340) reveals that social media use, romantic motivations, social belongingness motivations and […]

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Image and framing effects on perceptions of self-efficacy and body satisfaction Maria Len-Ríos and Yen-I Lee

Abstract: This study, in the context of encouraging participants to enroll in a company’s employee wellness program, uses gain-loss framing (Rothman & Salovey, 1997) and social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954) to examine the effects of messages on participant perceptions of self-efficacy for maintaining a healthy weight, consuming healthful foods and body satisfaction. A 2 (framing: […]

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Communicating employee wellness plans to employees Maria Len-Ríos, Hyoyeun Jun & Yen-I Lee Read More
Communicating employee wellness plans to employees Maria Len-Ríos

Abstract: Fortune magazine publishes its list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and its ranking formula for evaluating companies includes measures of “…overall job satisfaction,” as well as and evaluation of company “pay and benefits programs” (Fortune, n.d.). At many companies, a tangible benefit includes making employee wellness programs available to improve employee […]

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Improving chronic respiratory illness medication use by enhancing pediatric care communication. Maria Len-Ríos

Abstract: The objectives of this project are to (1) assess the acceptability of the Problem Recognition in Illness Self-Management (PRISM) tool, a family-provider communication intervention, to improve medication adherence, and (2)examine the feasibility of using a novel method, in the form of a smartphone app, to measure medication adherence inadolescents with chronic respiratory illnesses. Our […]

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Cross-cultural journalism Maria Len-Ríos

Abstract: Cross-Cultural Journalism offers journalists and other communication professionals the conceptual framework and practical know-how they need to report and communicate effectively about difference. Built on the hands-on reporting style and curriculum pioneered by the University of Missouri, this introductory textbook teaches students how to write about and communicate with people of backgrounds that may […]

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Understanding the politics of your public Maria Len-Ríos

Abstract: Hispanics, or Latinos, are the largest U.S. minority group and are poised to play a key role in U.S. elections. Public relations practitioners who work in politics should be interested in what motivates young Latinos to participate in politics. This study reports the findings of a national non probability online survey conducted in July 2015 […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Len-Ríos has taught courses in cross-cultural journalism, public relations, public relations writing, strategic campaigns, master’s thesis seminar, quantitative methods, mass media seminar and doctoral seminar courses.


Before coming to UGA, Dr. Len-Ríos served 10 years as a faculty member at the Missouri School of Journalism on the strategic communication faculty, 2 years at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, and 2 years at Georgia Southern University.  Her students have won first place in the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition in Corporate Communication.

Awards and Fellowships

PRSA Health Academy/Quinnipiac University Paper Competition Winner, 2010

In the News

Len-Ríos named associate dean of Grady College

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Growing demand leads Grady College to offer additional online courses for summer semester

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Public skepticism would likely greet a new Zika vaccine, study says

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New survey shows only half of people plan to get flu shots this year

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