Steven Brunner

Steven Brunner Portrait

Position Title
Continuing Lecturer

393 Kerr


  • Ph.D. in Communication, University of Arizona, 2015
  • M.S. in Communication Studies and Journalism, South Dakota State University, 2010
  • B.S. in Communication Studies and Theatre, South Dakota State University, 2008


Dr. Brunner has been teaching in higher education since 2008. He has expertise in communication technologies, interpersonal communication, and public speaking. Dr. Brunner’s favorite course to teach is communication technology theory because, as he stated, “the students get to learn about the history of communication technologies from a theoretical perspective, while also exploring a more contemporary understanding of technology. The class often challenges and surprises students to think differently about how we communicate through technology.” Dr. Brunner also enjoys teaching relational courses because it is exciting to watch students learn theory that they can apply to their lives.

Research Focus

Dr. Brunner’s current line of inquiry explores the impacts and antecedents of self-disclosure in communication technologies, such as text messaging, email, and social networking sites. He has investigated the impacts of receiving superficial self-disclosure from both close friends and casual acquaintances across different communication technologies. He has also explored the broadcast capability of self-disclosure on social networking websites, and the impact those have on relationships. He is also interested in attachment theory as a predictor of self-disclosure. Some of his research argues that individuals with different attachment styles capitalize on the unique affordances of communication technologies and, as a result, people alter their self-disclosure practices on different technologies. Dr. Brunner uses multiple methods in his research, but he primarily relies on surveys and experiments.


Brunner, S. R., Ruiz, J. B., & Curran, M. A. (2021). Dear Solomon, Dear Prudence: Using student written advice responses to demonstrate theory application. Communication Teacher, 36(2), 117-121.

Arroyo, A., & Brunner, S. R. (2016). Negative body talk as an outcome of friends’ fitness posts on social networking sites: Body surveillance and social comparison as potential moderators. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 44(3), 216-235. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2016.1192293

Rains, S. A., & Brunner, S. R. (2015). What can we learn about social network websites by studying Facebook? A call and recommendations for research on social network website. New Media & Society, 17, 114-131. doi: 10.1177/1461444814546481

Rains, S. A., & Brunner, S. R. (2018). The outcomes of broadcasting self-disclosure using new communication technologies: Responses to disclosure vary across one’s social network. Communication Research, 45(5), 659-687. doi: 10.1177/0093650215598836

Rains, S. A., Brunner, S. R., Akers, C., Pavlich, C. A, Tsetsi, E., Dowell, J. (2016). Social support and computer-mediated communication (CMC): The role of CMC in discussing stressors during supportive interactions. Human Communication Research 42(4), 553-576. doi: 10.1111/hcre.12087

Rains, S. A., Brunner, S. R., & Oman, K. (2016). Self-disclosure and new communication technologies: The implications of receiving superficial self-disclosures from friends. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33, 42-61. doi: 10.1177/0265407514562561

Smith, S. A., & Brunner, S. R. (2017). To reveal or conceal: Using communication privacy management theory to understand self-disclosures in the workplace. Management Communication Quarterly, 31(3), 429-446.


Dr. Brunner primarily teaches courses that focus on relationships such as Interpersonal Communication and Nonverbal Communication. He has taught several other courses including Interpersonal Technologies, Family Communication, and Group Communication.


Kory Floyd Fellowship in Interpersonal Communication – received 2014