Rebecca L. Collins

Photo of Rebecca Collins
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D., M.A. in social psychology, University of California, Los Angeles; B.S. in psychology, University of Wisconsin

Media Resources

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Rebecca Collins is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. She sits on RAND’s Human Subjects Protection Committee. Her research examines the determinants and consequences of health risk behavior. Current and recent projects focus on the effects of media on health. She is currently leading an NIMH-funded evaluation of California's Historic Stigma and Discrimination Reduction initiative, which has a large social marketing component. She is also co-investigator of a study using innovative ecological momentary assessment methods to test the influence of alcohol advertising on youth. Previously, Collins was principal investigator for a national longitudinal study that produced groundbreaking evidence linking exposure to some types of sexual content in the media and adolescent sexual behavior and health. She co-led a National Academy of Sciences panel examining the association between sexual content in media and child health and was a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) task force investigating the primarily media-based sexualization of young girls in the United States. She led a team that authored key chapters in RAND's report to the Secretary of Defense informing repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy. Other areas of study involve adolescent sexual and substance use behavior and various aspects of living with HIV infection, including sexual behavior and substance use and comparisons of these across affected subpopulations (MSM, heterosexuals, IVDU). Collins is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology from UCLA.

Recent Projects

  • A national study linking adolescents' media use with subsequent changes in sexual behavior and pregnancy risk
  • Effects of alcohol advertising on underage drinking
  • Evaluating the effects of efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness in California

Selected Publications

P. L. Ellickson et al., "Does Alcohol Advertising Promote Adolescent Drinking? Results from a Longitudinal Assessment," Addiction, 100, 2005

R. L. Collins et al., "Watching Sex on TV Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior," Pediatrics Electronic Pages, 114, 2004

Beckett, M., Burnam, A., Collins, R. L., Kanouse, D. E., & Beckman, R., "Substance use and high-risk sex among people with HIV: a comparison across exposure groups.," AIDS and Behavior, 2003

Collins, R.L., Pollard, M.S., Asch, S.M., & Eberhart, N.K. "Health Implications," in Rostker B. et al., Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy, RAND (MG-1056-OSD), 2010

Meadows, S.O., Eberhart, N. K, Pollard, M. S. & Collins "Sexual Orientation and Disclosure," in Rostker B. et al., Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy, RAND (MG-1056-OSD), 2010

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC; CNN;; NBC; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Reuters; USA Today; Washington Post