Elizabeth J. D'Amico

Photo of Elizabeth D'Amico
Senior Behavioral Scientist
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in clinical psychology, University of Texas

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 media@rand.org.

More Experts


Elizabeth D'Amico is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a licensed clinical psychologist. D'Amico is nationally recognized for her work developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions for adolescents and young adults. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).

D'Amico has evaluated motivational interventions (MI) interventions with adolescents and young adults in a variety of settings, including middle schools, primary care, homeless shelters, and teen court. She has grants focused on prevention for substance use for urban Native American adolescents and young adults that integrate MI with traditional practices, such as beading and Native American cooking. She is currently conducting a large clinical trial to address suicide prevention among Alaska Native youth in Alaska. She has conducted epidemiological work to examine predictors and consequences of adolescent substance use, and is the principal investigator of a longitudinal study examining substance use patterns over 18 years among youth from sixth grade through age 28. Her most recent work has focused on the effects of medical marijuana advertising on adolescents' marijuana use. 

In 2016, D'Amico was recognized as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association for Division 50 (Society of Addiction Psychology). She received the Mentor of the Year Award in 2018 from RAND's Behavioral and Policy Sciences. She has expressed her views on how to talk to adolescents about marijuana legalization on the PBS news hour for the "In My Humble Opinion" (#IMHO) series. D'Amico received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Texas.

Recent Projects

  • Development and implementation of a culturally centered opioid prevention intervention for American Indian/Alaska Native young adults in California
  • Development and testing of an integrated healing and motivational interviewing group intervention for urban Native American youth
  • AOD use trajectories from age 10 to 24: Multi-level predictors, health and behavioral functioning, and racial/ethnic disparities
  • Examining the role of sleep disturbances in contributing to health risk behaviors and cardiometabolic outcomes in urban Native American youth
  • Comparative effectiveness of two culturally centered suicide interventions for Alaska Native youth

Selected Publications

D’Amico, E.J., Rodriguez, A., Tucker, J.S., Pedersen, E.R., & Shih, R.A., "Planting the seed for marijuana use: Changes in exposure to medical marijuana advertising and subsequent adolescent marijuana use, cognitions, and consequences over seven years," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 188, 2018

D’Amico, E.J., Parast, L., Shadel, W.G., Meredith, L.S., Seelam, R., & Stein, B.D., "Brief motivational interviewing intervention to reduce alcohol and marijuana use for at-risk adolescents in primary care: A randomized clinical trial," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(9), 2018

D’Amico, E. J., Dickerson, D. L., Brown, R. A., Johnson, C., Agniel, D., & Klein, D., "Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY): A randomized controlled trial," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 111, 2020

D’Amico, E. J., Tucker, J. S., Pedersen, E. R, & Shih, R. A, "Understanding rates of marijuana use and consequences among adolescents in a changing legal landscape," Current Addiction Reports, 4(4), 2017

D’Amico, E.J., Davis, J.P., Tucker, J.S., Seelam, R., Stein, B.D. , "Opioid misuse during adolescence and its effects on risk behaviors, social functioning, health, and emerging adult roles," Addictive Behaviors, 113, 2021

D’Amico, E.J., Palimaru, A.I., Dickerson, D.L., Dong, L., Brown, R.A., Johnson, C.L., Klein, D.J., & Troxel, W.M., " Risk and resilience factors in urban American Indian/Alaska Native youth during the coronavirus pandemic," American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 2021

Tucker, J.S., Pedersen, E. R., Seelam, R., Dunbar, M. D., Shih, R. A, & D’Amico, E. J., "Types of cannabis and tobacco/nicotine co-use and associated outcomes in young adulthood," Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(4), 2019

Dunbar, M., Davis, J., Rodriguez, A., Tucker, J. S., Seelam, R., & D’Amico, E. J. , "Disentangling within- and between-person effects of shared risk factors on e-cigarette and cigarette use trajectories from adolescence to young adulthood," Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 21, 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Mentor of the Year, RAND Health
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association
  • Mentor of the Year, Behavioral & Policy Sciences

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: CNN; KPBS/NPR; Los Angeles Times; Time Magazine; Washington Post; WPR, Wisconsin Public Radio


  • Vape liquids for sale in New York, New York, September 20, 2018

    Vaping May Have Its Place, Just Not With Teens

    While e-cigarettes may be a “safer” option for adult smokers, they are not safe for young people. Teens who vape are significantly more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes in the future.

    Dec 17, 2018 CNN

  • Elizabeth D'Amico outside a marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California

    How Marijuana Ads Affect Youth: Q&A with Elizabeth D'Amico

    RAND's Elizabeth D'Amico discusses her research on how medical marijuana advertising influences adolescents' use of—and positive attitudes toward—the drug. Los Angeles County used her findings to limit the placement of marijuana billboards and signage outside dispensaries.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • A billboard advertises marijuana in advance of the legalization of recreational marijuana in San Francisco, California, December 29, 2017

    Why Children Need to Be Shielded from Marijuana Ads

    By design, advertising is aimed at persuading us to want something. In the case of marijuana, that something is definitely not good for teenagers.

    Jun 18, 2018 Los Angeles Times

  • 'Weed' sign with arrow and palm trees

    Advertising and Teens in the Era of the 'Blackout Brownie'

    Exposure to marijuana advertising may play a significant role in shaping teen attitudes about the drug, and contribute to increased marijuana use and related negative consequences throughout adolescence. Restrictions on marijuana advertising similar to those on alcohol and tobacco would likely help limit its exposure to teens.

    May 31, 2018 USA Today

  • A closeup of cannabis

    What Your Kids Need to Know About Marijuana, Legalized or Not

    If you are a parent, no matter how you feel about legalizing marijuana, you need to be prepared to talk about the drug with your kids.

    Sep 21, 2016 Los Angeles Times

  • young people having a group discussion in a park

    Group Motivational Interviewing Can Help Teens Make Healthy Choices

    Group motivational interviewing is a guided therapeutic approach that helps people think about their motivations for behavior and their commitment to change. It is an excellent fit for adolescents, because it engages them about their personal experiences while eliciting ideas about how they can change and make healthy choices.

    Oct 29, 2013

  • young woman smoking and drinking coffee

    Teen Employment May Not Always Be a Boon for At-Risk Youth

    For all teens, and especially those who have already experienced problems related to alcohol and drug use, it is essential to monitor the quality of work experiences and keep in mind that some work environments might increase risk for substance use.

    Dec 18, 2012