Josh Compton

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Speech

I’m interested in how attitudes can become resistant to influence in ways similar to how our bodies become resistant to disease. Much of my work centers on inoculation theory. I help my students see how this theory, and others like it, can guide our rhetorical choices and help us recognize our own responses to attempts to persuade us.

37 Dewey Field Road, Room 228
HB 6250
Institute for Writing and Rhetoric
M.A. Missouri State University
Ph.D. University of Oklahoma

Selected Publications

Compton, J. (2019). Prophylactic versus therapeutic inoculation treatments for resistance to influence. Communication Theory. doi:

Compton, J., & Craig, E. A. (2019). Family communication patterns, inoculation theory, and adolescent substance abuse prevention: Harnessing postinoculation talk and family communication environments to spread positive influence. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 11(2), 277-288. doi:

Compton, J. (2018). Presidents on speechwriting: United States presidents’ public statements about speechwriting. The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta 103(1), 1-12. 

Compton, J. (2018). When weather forecasters are wrong: Image repair and public rhetoric after severe weather. Science Communication. 1075547018799101

Compton, J. (2018). Inoculation theory and metaliterate learning. In T. P. Mackey & T. Jacobson (Eds.), Metaliterate learning in the post-truth world. Chicago: ALA Publishing.

Compton, J. (2018). A vaccine for boredom? Considering inoculation theory as a messaging strategy to better engage, and retain, a millennial workforce. In S. A. Smith (Ed.), Recruitment, retention, and engagement of a millennial workforce. Landham, MD: Lexington Books.

Compton, J. (2018). Inoculating against/with political humor. In J. Baumgartner & A. B. Becker (Eds.), Political humor in a changing media landscape: A new generation of research. Landham, MD: Lexington Books.

 Compton, J., & Compton, J. L. (2018). The athlete's image, visual representation, and image repair/image prepare: Tom Brady, Jane Rosenberg, and the courtroom sketches. International Journal of the Image9(2).

Compton, J. (2016). Inoculating against a losing season: Can inoculation-informed public relations strategies protect fan loyalty? International Journal of Sport Communication, 9(1), 1-12. doi:

Jackson, B., Compton, J., Thornton, A. L., Dimmock, J. A. (2017). Re-thinking anxiety: Using inoculation messages to reduce and reinterpret public speaking fears. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169972. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169972

Compton, J. (2017). Image prepare: Image repair, inoculation theory, and anticipated attacks on credibility. The International Journal of the Image, 8(1), 1-9.

Compton, J., Jackson, B., & Dimmock, J. A. (2016). Persuading others to avoid persuasion: Inoculation theory and resistant health attitudes. Frontiers in Psychology 7(122). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00122

Compton, J. (2015). Political humor on the radio, image repair, and Gracie Allen’s 1950 presidential campaign. Journal of Radio and Audio Media, 22(2), 255-264.

Compton, J., & Compton, J. L. (2015). Open letters from the National Football League, concussion prevention, and image repair rhetoric. [scholarly commentary] International Journal of Sport Communication 8(3), 266-275. doi: 10.1123/IJSC.2015-0049

Ivanov, B., Sims, J. D., Compton, J., Miller, C. H., Parker, K. A., Parker, J. L., Harrison, K. J., & Averbeck, J. M. (2015). The general content of postinoculation talk: Recalled issue-specific conversations following inoculation treatments. Western Journal of Communication, 79(2), 218-238. doi: 10.1080/10570314.2014.943423

Jackson, B., Compton, J., Whiddett, R., Anthony, D. R., & Dimmock, J. A. (2015). Preempting performance challenges: The effects of inoculation messaging on attacks to task self-efficacy. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124886. doi: 10.1371/journal/pone.0124886

Compton, J., & Compton, J. L. (2014). College sports, losing seasons, and image repair through open letters to fans. Communication & Sport, 2(4), 345-362.

Compton, J. (2013). Inoculation theory. In J. P. Dillard & L. Shen (Eds.), The Sage handbook of persuasion: Developments in theory and practice, 2nd ed., (pp. 220-237). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Compton, J., & Ivanov, B. (2013). Vaccinating voters: New directions for political campaign inoculation scholarship. In E. L. Cohen (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 37 (pp. 250-283). New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis).

Compton, J., & Kaylor, B. T. (2013). Inoculating for small pox inoculation objections in Reverend Cooper’s Letter to a Friend in the Country. Journal of Communication and Religion, 36(1), 92-107.

Miller, C. & Ivanov, B. (with Sims, J. D., Compton, J., Harrison, K. J., Parker, K. A., Parker, J. L., & Averbeck, J. M). (2013). Boosting the potency of resistance: Combining the motivational forces of inoculation and psychological reactance. Human Communication Research, 39, 127-155.

Compton, J., & Ivanov, B. (2012). Untangling threat during inoculation theory-conferred resistance. Communication Reports,25(1), 1-13.

Ivanov, B., Miller, C. H., Compton, J., Averbeck, J. M., Harrison, K. J., Sims, J. D., Parker, K. A., & Parker, J. L. (2012). Effects of post-inoculation talk on resistance to influence. Journal of Communication, 62, 701-718.

Parker, K. A., Ivanov, B., & Compton, J. (2012). Inoculation’s efficacy with young adults’ risky behaviors: Can inoculation confer cross-protection over related but untreated issues? Health Communication, 27(3), 223-233.

Compton, J. (2011). Frustration vaccination? Inoculation theory and digital learning. In S. P. Ferris (Ed.), Teaching, learning and the net generation: Concepts and tools for reaching digital learners (pp. 61-73).  Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Compton, J. (2011). Surveying scholarship on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. In A. Amarasingam (Ed.), The Colbert/Stewart effect: Essays on the real impacts of fake news (pp. 9-33). Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company.

Compton, J., & Pfau, M. (2009). Spreading inoculation: Inoculation, resistance to influence, and word-of-mouth communication. Communication Theory, 19, 9-28.

Compton, J. (2008). More than laughing? Survey of political humor effects research. In Morris, J. S., & Baumgartner, J. C. (Eds.) Laughing matters: Humor and American politics in the media age (pp. 39-66). New York: Routledge.

Compton, J., & Pfau, M. (2008). Inoculating against pro-plagiarism justifications: Rational and affective strategies. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 36(1), 98- 119.

Compton, J. (2006). Serious as a heart attack: Health-related content of late night comedy television. Health Communication, 19(2), 143-151.

Compton, J. (2006, Winter). Remembering, forgetting, and memorializing the past: Considering forensics from a collective memory theoretical perspective. The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta, 91, 27-45.

Pfau, M., Compton, J., Parker, K. A., An, C., Wittenberg, E. M., Ferguson, M., Horton, H., & Malyshev, Y. (2006). The conundrum of the timing of counterarguing effects in resistance: Strategies to boost the persistence of counterarguing output. Communication Quarterly, 54(2), 143-156.

Pfau, M. (2005). Inoculation theory of resistance to influence at maturity: Recent progress in theory development and application and suggestions for future research. Communication Yearbook 29 (pp. 97-145). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Compton, J., & Pfau, M. (2004). Use of inoculation to foster resistance to credit card marketing targeting college students. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 32, 343-364.

Pfau, M., Compton, J., Parker, K. A., Wittenberg, E. M., An, C., Ferguson, M., Horton, H., & Malyshev, Y. (2004). The traditional explanation for resistance versus attitude accessibility: Do they trigger distinct or overlapping processes of resistance? Human Communication Research, 30(3), 329-360.

+ View 25 more