Joan S. Tucker

Photo of Joan Tucker
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Faculty Member, 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 member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. 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 focused on developing and evaluating brief interventions for substance use and sexual risk behaviors.

Tucker is President-Elect of the Western Psychological Association, as well as an elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and Western Psychological Association. She 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
  • Brief interventions for substance use and sexual risk behaviors

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
  • Fellow, Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • Early Career Research Award, Western Psychological Association

Recent Media Appearances

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


  • Cigarette butts in a public ashtray

    Sniping: Homeless Youths' High-Risk Smoking Practice

    Any intervention to help homeless youth quit smoking must also address 'sniping.' This high-risk activity involves scavenging cigarette butts and filters to make a 'new' cigarette.

    Oct 29, 2015 Orange County Register

  • Gabor Kovacs of 'smoke no smoke' displays e-cigarettes that his shop sells at Camden in London

    FDA's New Tobacco Rules Go Far Enough—For Now

    At this point, asking the FDA to restrict marketing or to ban flavored products would be premature. The base of scientific evidence is growing but it doesn't support additional regulatory action beyond what the FDA has already proposed.

    Jun 12, 2014 The Hill

  • woman smoking an electronic cigarette

    Where There's Vapor, Is There Fire? We Need Evidence on E-Cigarettes

    Currently, evidence for the safety, harmfulness, utility, and addictiveness of e-cigarettes is lacking. The questions that research needs to answer, however, are clear as day—particularly since business is booming.

    Mar 4, 2014 The Health Care Blog