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dr. sean horan

Dr. Sean Horan

Associate Professor

Ph.D., West Virginia University, Communication Studies (2009)
M.A., Texas State University, Communication Studies (2005)

B.A., Texas State University, Communication Studies (2004)

Organizational Communication, Health Communication, Interpersonal Communication

Office: Centennial Hall 315
Phone: 512.245.2165

Sean Horan CV (PDF, 272 KB)

About Dr. Horan

Sean believes that relationships are an incredible amount of work, and much of that work involves communication. This explains why he is passionate about teaching communication and exposing students to research that, ideally, improves their daily interactions. To that end, he teaches a variety of courses here, including: the Dark Side of Communication, Work-Life Intersections, A Biosocial Approach to Communication, Research Methods, and Health Communication.


Sean’s research largely centers upon Affection Exchange and Work-Life Border theories. For example, he examines how, why, and the implications of communicators utilizing affection deceptively via expressions of deceptive affectionate messages and/or withholding affection. Additionally, he explores the communicative implications of workplace romance—a situation where work and life domains are blended. His current research interests focus on workplace romance as well as safer sex/risk. Sean was identified as the 5th most published communication researcher for the years 2012-2016 and 21st most central communication scholar between the years 2007-2011.


Following five years at DePaul University in Chicago, Sean returned to Texas State University in 2014. He writes a monthly series for Psychology Today titled Adventures in Dating. His original research has been the subject of various (inter)national media stories featured in the Times of India, Axapneε (Greece), Africa News Post, Fox News, Quo (Spain & Mexico), Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan, among others. Likewise, his expert commentary has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, The Washington Post, and the Daily News.


Sean is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and is co-chair of Texas State’s Quality Enhancement Plan. Beyond reviewing for various journals, he is an active member of the National Communication Association, Eastern Communication Association, and the International Association for Relationship Research.

Associate Editor, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships:

Google Scholar:

Psychology Today - Adventures in Dating:

Department/University Leadership and/or Service Roles

Co-Chair, Quality Enhancement Plan for Texas State University Associate Editor, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

Courses Taught

COMM 1310: Fundamentals of Human Communication

COMM 3301: Research Methods
COMM 3318Q: Dark Side of Communication
COMM 4326: Health Communication

COMM 5301: Research Methods

COMM 5309: Proseminar in Communication
COMM 5325: Work-Life Intersections
COMM 5325: Dark Side of Communication
COMM 5325: A Biosocial Approach to Communication

Representative Publications

Horan, S. M. (2016). Further understanding sexual communication: Honesty, deception, safety, and risk. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33, 449-468. doi: 10.1177/0265407515578821


Horan, S. M., & Booth-Butterfield, M. (2013). Understanding the routine expression of deceptive affection in romantic relationships. Communication Quarterly, 61, 195-216. doi: 10.1080/01463373.2012.751435


Horan, S. M., & Booth-Butterfield, M. (2011). Is it worth lying for? Physiological and emotional implications of recalled deceptive affection. Human Communication Research, 37, 78-106. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2010.01394.x


Cowan, R. L., & Horan, S. M. (2014). Love at the office: Understanding workplace romance disclosures and reactions from the coworker perspective. Western Journal of Communication, 78, 238-253. doi: 10.1080/10570314.2013.866688


Horan, S. M., & Chory, R. M. (2013). Relational implications of gay and lesbian workplace romances: Implications for trust, deception, and credibility. Journal of Business  Communication, 50, 70-189. doi: 10.1177/0021943612474993.


Horan, S. M., & Chory, R. M. (2009). When work and love mix: Perceptions of peers in workplace romances. Western Journal of Communication, 73, 349-369. doi: 10.1080/10570310903279042


Recent Awards, Funding, and/or Recognition

Presidential Seminar, 2017

Dean’s Seminar, 2016

Valero Award for Excellence for outstanding faculty achievement, 2016

Article of the Year Award, ECA, 2014 and 2016

Identified as the 21st most central scholar to the discipline for years 2007-2011 (link to study:

Identified as the 15th most published communication researcher for years 2007-2011 (link to study:

Media Mentions, Public Scholarship, and More

Wall Street Journal article column based on one of my research studies:

Sean quoted on CNN:

Fox News Article on our deceptive affection research:

APA Center for Organizational Excellence’s article featuring our workplace romance research as a resource:

Huffington Post (UK) article about workplace romance:


Author of a Psychology Today series: