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 focused on developing and evaluating brief interventions for substance use and sexual risk behaviors. Tucker is a past recipient of the Western Psychological Association Early Career Research Award, 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

Selected Publications

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Alternative Tobacco Product Use and Smoking Cessation Among Homeless Youth," Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2014 (forthcoming)

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Peer Influence on Marijuana Use in Different Types of Friendships," Journal of Adolescent Health, 54:67-73, 2014

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Cross-Lagged Associations Between AOD-Related Media Exposure and Alcohol Use During Middle School," Journal of Adolescent Health, 53:460-464, 2013

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Neighborhood Characteristics and the Initiation of Marijuana Use and Heavy Drinking," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 128:83-89, 2013

Joan S. Tucker et al., "Sex Trade Behavior Among Heterosexually Active Homeless Men," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42:1535-1544, 2013

Elizabeth J. D'Amico, Joan S. Tucker et al., "Preventing Alcohol Use With a Voluntary After-School Program for Middle School Students: Results From a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial of CHOICE," Prevention Science, 13:415-425, 2012

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, 2012

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

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


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    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

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    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