Current Research Projects

Prescription Drug Misuse in Youth Subcultures: Contexts & Risks
Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), this study is designed to describe the range of risk taking behaviors among young adults who misuse prescription drugs. Combining ethnographic methods with structured surveys, we assess 400 young adult who abuse prescription drugs over the course of one year of their lives. Grant # R01DA025081 (PI: Kelly)

Tobacco Control Policies & Individual-Level Trajectories of Youth Cigarette Use
Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the primary aims of this project are to identify the effect of tobacco control policies on youth tobacco use trajectories over time and to assess whether there are significant interaction effects of tobacco control policies by contextual factors. The project makes use of longitudinal data and a unique multi-level database of tobacco control policies by local, state, and federal regulation over time. Grant # R03DA034933 (PI: Vuolo)

Sibling Influences on Adolescents' Alcohol and Substance Use Orientations
This study is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). This study examines the multiple avenues by which adolescent siblings influence each other's decisions about alcohol and substance use. Specifically, the study identifies the psychological and behavioral processes that drive sibling similarities and differences with regard to adolescents' alcohol and substance use, as well as the familial and extra-familial contexts that moderate their operation. Grant # R21AA017490 (PI: Whiteman).

Alcohol Use and Associated Problems among Veterans and Student Service Members
Little is known about the health issues of young veterans as they shift from military life to college life. Previous research suggests that veterans are at risk for developing alcohol-related problems and disorders. Entry into the alcohol consuming college culture may exacerbate these risks and affect their well-being and adjustment. This study examines the prevalence and correlates of military veteran student service members' alcohol use and abuse following (re)entry into college. It explores whether student veterans' alcohol-related cognitions and patterns of use differ from those of their non-military peers, as well as whether they also experience a greater proportion of negative outcomes (mental health, social, and academic) as a result of their alcohol use. Grant # R03AA020193 (PI: Whiteman).

Childbearing and Motherhood in the Context of HIV/AIDS in South Africa
This study, funded by William and Flora Hewlett Foundation/Institute of International Education, is led by Prof. Christie Sennott. This study examines the role of young women's fertility practices and union trajectories on health behaviors and health outcomes.

The Age Discordant Relationships project
In collaboration with Prof. Jeni Loftus of the University of Memphis and Prof. Sarah Mustillo of the University of Notre Dame, this study relies on the AddHealth dataset to examine of the lives of adolescent girls in age discordant relationships - relationships with significantly older males - and how these relationships affect the health of young women. Several published articles assess sociological factors that determine entry into these relationships as well as health outcomes related to involvement in such relationships.

HIV Risk among Methamphetamine Users in China
Methamphetamine has emerged as a significant drug issue among young people in China. This study, also funded by NIDA, uses qualitative interviews and longitudinal surveys to examine social factors that underlie risk behaviors among the growing population of methamphetamine users in China. Grant # R21DA026772 (PI: Kelly)