Benjamin E. Custer, Ph.D.

About Benjamin E. Custer, Ph.D.

Benjamin E. Custer (PhD, University of Arizona, 2020) is a communication researcher and instructor who is serving as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at Plovdiv University in Bulgaria for the 2021-2022 academic year. In 2019, he won UArizona’s Department of Communication Excellence in Teaching Award and Kory Floyd Graduate Fellowship in Interpersonal Relations. He is also the recipient of a Top Four Paper Award (2020) from the National Communication Association’s Interpersonal Communication Division and a Top Debut Paper Award (2018) from the Western States Communication Association’s Media Studies Interest Group.

Research Interests

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Mass communication
  • Communication technologies
  • Social psychology
  • Evolutionary psychology

Selected Publications

Custer, B. (2014). STEM from the humanities: How visual arts, empathy and storytelling fuel innovation. Peninsula Press, A Project of the Stanford Graduate Program in Journalism. Later featured on SFGate.

Floyd, K., & Custer, B. E. (2020). Affection exchange theory. In J. Nussbaum (Ed.), Oxford research encyclopedia of communication. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.937

Floyd, K., Woo, N. T., & Custer, B. E. (2020). The biology of affectionate communication. In K. Floyd, & R. Weber (Eds.), The handbook of communication science and biology (pp. 308-318). Routledge.

Hesse, C., Floyd, K., Rains, S. R., Mikkelson, A. C., Pauley, P. M., Woo, N. T., Custer, B. E., & Duncan, K. (2020). Affectionate communication and health: A meta-analysis. Communication Monographs. Advance online publication.

Lapierre, M. A., & Custer, B. E. (2020). Testing relationships between smartphone engagement, romantic partner communication, and relationship satisfaction. Mobile Media & Communication. doi: 10.1177/2050157920935163

Floyd, K., Matheny, R., Dinsmore, D. R., Custer, B. E., & Woo, N. T. (2019). “If you disagree, unfriend me now”: Exploring the phenomenon of invited unfriending. American Journal of Applied Psychology, 7(1), 20-29. doi: 10.12691/ajap-7-1-3

Lapierre, M. A., Zhao, P., & Custer, B. E. (2019). Short-term longitudinal relationships between smartphone use/dependency and psychological well-being among late adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 65(5), 607-612. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.06.001

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Contact Information

Benjamin E. Custer, Ph.D.


PhD (2020) Communication, University of Arizona

M.A. (2014) Communication, Stanford University

B.S. (2011) Mass Communications, Texas A&M University-Texarkana

Dissertation Title

Bad boys, bad boys, who’s gotta thing for you?: Examining the sexual appeal of the bad boy archetype

Courses Taught

Intro. to Communication Theory

Intro. to Interpersonal Communication

Intro. to Public Speaking

Intro. to Small Group Communication

Intro. to the Study of Communication

Survey of Mass Communication

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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