Anita Atwell Seate

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Arizona

2106 Skinner Building
Professional Interests: 

Dr. Anita Atwell Seate is a social scientist that has two areas of research interest: intergroup communication and public relations/strategic communication. Across these areas of study, Dr. Atwell Seate is interested in how people’s social identities influence communication processes.

Dr. Atwell Seate’s work finds that identity-based factors, including (intergroup) emotions and social identity importance are crucial to consider in understanding how people receive messages and their subsequent behavioral outcomes. Dr. Atwell Seate studies a variety of social groups including social identities based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, and sexual orientation, with an emphasis placed on racial and ethnic groups. Dr. Atwell Seate uses a variety of methods in their work including experimental design, quantitative content analysis, survey design, interviews, multi-sited rapid ethnography, qualitative comparative analysis, and rhetorical criticism.

In terms of their intergroup communication scholarship, Dr. Atwell Seate is currently working on a monograph examining how intergroup threat is constructed through discourse, using both critical and social scientific approaches (with Dr. Michelle Murray Yang). Dr. Atwell Seate has presented and workshopped ideas from this project at Eastern Communication Association and the Rhetoric Society of America, Institute.

Regarding their current public relations and strategic communication scholarship, Dr. Atwell Seate is the Principal Investigator of a grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s VORTEX-SE Program [Co-PIs: Dr. Brooke F. Liu, Dr. Ji Youn Kim, and Mr. Daniel Hawblitzel]. For this project, the research team is working with the National Weather Service to develop a risk communication toolkit. The risk communication toolkit will be developed with operational practioners and will validated through a series of experiments with members of the public. This is Dr. Atwell Seate’s second VORTEX-SE grant award.  

Curriculum Vitae

Graduate Advising Philosophy

Representative Publications (# indicates student authors):

Intergroup Communication

Atwell Seate, A., #Ma, R., Cohen, E. L., & Iles, I. (2019). Help a fan out? Effects of fandom type and task type on people’s behavioral intentions towards different types of fans in a collaborative effort. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance online publication.

Atwell Seate, A., #Ma, R. #Chien, H.-Y., & Mastro, D. (2018). Cultivating intergroup emotions: An intergroup threat theory approach. Mass Communication & Society, 21(2), 178-197. https//

Atwell Seate, A., & Mastro, D. (2017). Exposure to immigration in the news: The impact of group-level emotions on intergroup behavior. Communication Research, 44(2), 817-840.  https//

Public Relations/Strategic Communication

Liu, B. F., Atwell Seate, A., Iles, I., & Herovic, E. (2020). Tornado warning: Understanding the National Weather Service’s communication strategies. Public Relations Review, 46(2), 1-12.

Atwell Seate, A. (2019, April 25). We’re not in Kansas anymore: A mixed-method examination of tornado risk communication the Southeast U.S. Research presented at the Department of Communication’s Colloquium Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States.

Atwell Seate, A. (2019, November 13-17). Surviving in the field: Challenges and opportunities for ethnographic public relations research [Panelist]. National Communication Association Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD, United States.

#Page, T. G., Atwell Seate, A., #Chatham, A., #Lim, J. R., #Shi, D., #Ma, L., & #Wang, X. (2019, November 13-17). The Power of pre-existing relationships: Situational crisis communication theory and the revised model of reputation repair [Paper presentation: Top Paper Panel, Public Relations Division]. National Communication Association Annual Convention, Baltimore, MD, United States.