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Victoria Ledford

Victoria Ledford

Assistant Professor


Communication & Journalism

Victoria Ledford

Contact Me

235 Tichenor Hall

Personal Website

Office Hours

Tuesday 3:30-5 pm

Thursday 12:15-1:45 pm

or by appointment


Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park

M.A., Marshall University

B.A., Marshall University

About Me

Victoria Ledford is an assistant professor in the School of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University. Dr. Ledford’s research expertise centers around health communication, persuasion, and quantitative research methods, and she researches and teaches these topics. In addition, Dr. Ledford studies inclusive and effective teaching strategies in her research and believes that high-quality teaching practices, like effective practices across all areas of communication, serve students best when they are derived from evidence-based strategies. She enjoys learning alongside students and views the classroom as a space where student voice and creativity should thrive. Prior to teaching at Auburn, Dr. Ledford served as a Director of K-12 Research and Professional Services at the research firm, Hanover Research, and spent several years teaching communication courses at the University of Maryland and Marshall University.

Dr. Ledford’s research is broadly concerned with health, persuasion, social cognition, and stigma reduction. Simply put, she does research that asks and answers: “how can we create health messages that persuade people to enact healthy behaviors but do not stigmatize them for not doing so?” To answer this broad question, she studies (1) the effects of stigmatizing messages on people’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors related to varied topics including opioids and Autism Spectrum Disorders; (2) what strategies are most effective at changing people’s beliefs—including perceptions of risk and stigma—attitudes, and behaviors; and finally (3) how people in stigmatized communities are affected by public health messages, particularly among issues where health disparities are evident (e.g., COVID-19). Across each of these three areas, Dr. Ledford primarily uses survey and experimental methods and frequently collaborates with qualitative researchers in recognizing the critical role of qualitative methods in answering these research questions. Dr. Ledford’s work has been published in Health Communication, Communication Education, Communication Teacher, the Basic Course Communication Annual, the International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology, the Handbook of Language in Public Health and Healthcare, and Metode Science Studies. She also frequently presents her work at conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Outside the office, Dr. Ledford spends her time enjoying dinner parties with friends, playing board games, lifting weights at her gym, and traveling the world with the people she loves. She also frequents the Chicken Salad Chick next to Tichenor and loves finding great Southern food restaurants.

Research Interests

health, persuasion, social cognition, and stigma reduction


Ledford, V., & Nan, X. (2022). Using communication science to accelerate adult and childhood vaccination. Metode Science Studies Journal, 13.

Ledford, V., Wang, X., Anderson, L. B., Leach, J., Lucas, M., & Mazzone, R. (2022). Communication apprehension in the online presentational speaking course: Considerations for synchronous course meetings and asynchronous presentations. Communication Teacher, 37(1), 64-82.

Ma, X., Ma, R., & Ledford, V. (2022). Is my story better than his story? Understanding the effects and mechanisms of narrative point of view in the opioid context. Health Communication. Advance online publication.

Ledford, V., & Salzano, M. (2022). The Instagram Activism Slideshow—Translating argumentation and communication skills to social media practice. Communication Teacher, 36(4), 258-263.

Ledford, V., Lim, J. K., Namkoong, K., Chen, J., & Qin, Y. (2021). The influence of stigmatizing messages on danger appraisal: Examining the model of stigma communication for opioid-related stigma, policy support, and related outcomes. Health Communication, 37(14), 1765-1777.

Ashby-King, D. T., Iannacone, J. I., Ledford, V. A., Farzad-Phillips, A., Salzano, M., & Anderson, L. B. (2021). Expanding and constraining critical communication pedagogy in the basic communication course: A critique of assessment rubrics. Communication Teacher, 36(3), 187-203.

Underhill, J., Ledford, V., & Adams, H. (2021). “Public speaking is a skill that everyone needs no matter what:” Exploring peer perceptions toward creating inclusive basic course classrooms for students on the autism spectrum. Basic Course Communication Annual, 33, Article 9. Available at

Qin, Y., Chen, J., Namkoong, K., Ledford, V., & Lim, J. K. (2020). Increasing perceived risk of opioid misuse: The power of concrete language and the use of images. Health Communication, 37(4), 425-437.

Underhill, J., Ledford, V., & Adams, H. (2019). Autism stigma in communication classrooms: Exploring peer attitudes and motivations toward interacting with atypical students. Communication Education, 68(2), 175-192.

Courses Taught

COMM 3510: Research in Human Communication

COMM 4480: Health Promotion Message and Design

COMM 5470: Health Communication

COMM 7020: Quantitative Methods of Communication Research

COMM 7970: Stigma, Communication and Identity