Dr. Zwarun's research expertise pertains to risky or sensitive media messages, including alcohol and tobacco advertising, television violence, and food marketing directed at children. Her research analyzes the content of these messages, analyzes their individual and social effects, and considers the regulatory and environmental contexts within which they appear. Her work has appeared in journals including Media Psychology, American Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes including Research Methods, Introduction to Mass Communication, and Dangerous Messages in the Media


Ph.D. in Communication        University of California Santa Barbara

M.A. in Advertising                University of Texas at Austin

B.A. in Rhetoric                    University of California Berkeley


Zwarun, L., & Hall, A. (2012). Narrative persuasion, transportation, and the role of need for cognition in online viewing of fantastical films. Media Psychology, 15, 327-355.

Hall, A., & Zwarun, L. (2012). Challenging entertainment: Enjoyment, transportation, and need for cognition in relation to fictional films viewed online. Mass Communication and Society, 15(3), 384-406.

Zwarun, L, & Torrey, A. (2011). Somebody vs. Nobody: An exploration of the role of celebrity status in an election. Social Science Journal, 48(4), 672-680.

Bier, M.C., Zwarun, L., & Warren, V.F. (2011). Getting universal primary tobacco use prevention into priority area schools: A media literacy approach. Health Promotion Practice. 12(Suppl 2), 152S-158S.

Bier, M.C., Schmidt, S.J., Shields, D. A., Zwarun, L., Sherblom, S. A., Primack, B., Pulley, C. & Rucker, B. (2011). School-based smoking prevention with media literacy: A pilot study. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 2, 185-198.

Zwarun, L. (2008). Policy worth perpetuating? An analysis of how well food commercials marketed to kids comply with CARU self-regulatory guidelines. Southwestern Mass Communication Journal, 23, 1-9.

Zwarun, L. (2007). Assessing outcomes of service learning in advertising classrooms. Journal of Advertising Education, 11, 5-16.

Zwarun, L. (2007). Wouldn’t they love to know? What makes consumers trust Web sites enough to disclose to them. Proceedings of the American Academy of Advertising, 197-205.

Zwarun, L. (2006). Ten years and one Master Settlement later: The nature and frequency of alcohol and tobacco promotion in televised sports, 2000 through 2002. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1492-1497.

Zwarun, L., Linz, D., Metzger, M., & Kunkel, D. (2006). Effects of showing risk in beer commercials to young drinkers. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 50, 52-77.

Christie, T.B., Clark, A.M., & Zwarun, L. (2006). Finding a credible message to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Global Media Journal, 5, 22.

Zwarun, L., & Farrar, K.M. (2005). Doing what they say, saying what they mean: Self-regulatory compliance and depictions of drinking in alcohol commercials in televised sports. Mass Communication and Society, 8, 347-371.

Metzger, M, Flanagin, A., & Zwarun, L. (2003). College student Web use, perceptions of information credibility, and verification behavior.  Computers and Education, 41, 271-290.

Kunkel, D., Farinola, W.M., Farrar, K., Donnerstein, E., Biely, E., & Zwarun, L. (2002). Deciphering the V-chip: An examination of the television industry’s program rating judgments. Journal of Communication, 52, 112-138.

Contact Information

Office: 570 Lucas Hall

Phone: (314) 516-6725

Email: zwarunl@umsl.edu