Joan S. Tucker

Photo of Joan Tucker
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in social psychology, University of California, Riverside; B.A. in psychology, University of California, Irvine

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Joan S. Tucker is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She conducts research primarily in the areas of substance use and HIV/AIDS. Her work on substance use includes identifying developmental trajectories of substance use, risk factors for initiation and escalation, and short- and long-term consequences of use during adolescence and young adulthood. Her HIV-related research includes investigating the impact of mental health and substance use problems on adherence to antiretroviral medications; prevalence and correlates of risky sexual practices among HIV-positive adults with serious mental illness; and the interrelationships of substance use, violence, and HIV-related risk behavior among homeless adults and youth. Much of Tucker's recent research has used social network analysis to better understand the social context of substance use and sexual risk behavior. Tucker is the 2004 recipient of the Western Psychological Association Outstanding Research Award, as well as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. Tucker received her Ph.D. in social psychology from University of California, Riverside.

Recent Projects

  • Adolescent and young adult substance use
  • Substance use and sexual risk behavior among the homeless (youth, women, men)
  • Social network influences on health behaviors

Selected Publications

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Neighborhood Characteristics and the Initiation of Marijuana Use and Heavy Drinking," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2013 (forthcoming)

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Substance Use and Other Risk Factors for Unprotected Sex: Results From An Event-Based Study of Homeless Youth," AIDS and Behavior, 16:1699-1707, 2012

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Predictors of Substance Abuse Treatment Need and Receipt Among Homeless Women," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 40:287-294, 2011

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Running Away From Home: A Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Risk Factors and Young Adult Outcomes," Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40:507-518, 2011

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Social Network and Individual Correlates of Sexual Risk Behavior Among Homeless Young Men Who Have Sex With Men," Journal of Adolescent Health, 51:386-392, 2011

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Is Substance Use a Barrier to Protected Sex Among Homeless Women?: Results From Between- and Within-Subjects Event Analyses," Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 71:86-94, 2010

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC News Now; Healthy Life; United Press International; USA Today; Xinhua News Agency, China


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