Valarie Bell Wright

Val Wright

I began my academic career at the College of Charleston (Charleston, SC) studying English Literature. Unhappy and unfulfilled in my major, I decided to take an elective course, Interpersonal Communication, just for fun. The rest, they say, is history. 

During undergrad, I received a grant to research the intrapersonal and interpersonal influences on women’s decisions regarding exercise and nutrition and during the process discovered my passion for research, specifically understanding how interpersonal relationships have long‐term effects on health. I graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Communication Studies and continued researching the interpersonal/health connection during graduate school, examining the impact that social support networks have on the healing process, understanding how friends and family influence women's attitudes about emergency contraception, and identifying how various media and interpersonal relationships impact parents’ decisions to immunize their children. In December 2010, I graduated with my M.A. (again from CofC) and immediately began teaching Intro and Advanced Interpersonal courses at my alma mater. 

Current research interests include: The intersection between interpersonal and health communication, namely in the area of weight management and healthy lifestyle choices. Research includes examining how family members aid in/hinder weight loss attempts and long-term wellness, whether it's through traditional diets or during the bariatric surgical process. In addition, I have recently conducted a study of 420 law enforcement officers' (LEO) relationships to understand relationships between LEOs' occupational peers and significant others. Future research is a qualitative study directed towards understanding what effect communication following critical incidents has on long-term mental well-being for LEOs and how family members of first responders cope with and render support to their LEO following these events. 

When I’m not a student and teacher, I’m a wife and a mom of three. Traveling, relaxing at the beach, movie nights with my friends, teaching, and cheering for THE YANKEES….these are a few of my favorite things.