David Kennedy is a senior social and behavioral scientist at RAND. He was trained as a medical anthropologist and has conducted research on the intersection of culture, social networks, and health.

Kennedy has developed a behavior change intervention approach that combines motivational interviewing with personal network visualization. He is leading several studies testing or adapting this approach, including studies with emerging adults experiencing homelessness, American Indian / Alaska Native adolescents and emerging adults, caregivers of older family members, and people experiencing loneliness. He leads the development of software for the collection of social network data and for use in social network interventions (egoweb.info). Kennedy has conducted research on mental health topics, including depression and PTSD, as well as other chronic and infectious illnesses including HIV/AIDS and seasonal influenza, and abuse of substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. He has conducted research with a variety of populations, including fieldwork in Latin America and Africa; people exerpiencing homelessness in Los Angeles; newlywed couples living in low-income neighborhoods; and high school students attending charter schools.

As a methodologist, Kennedy specializes in the collection and analysis of qualitative data and in developing innovative research designs that integrate qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In particular, he specializes in innovative methods for collecting and analyzing social network data in conjunction with qualitative data and methods for partnering with community organizations in the collection and analysis of qualitative data. He has conducted research with both adolescents and adults on the effects of romantic relationships on health, including issues related to childbearing, sexually transmitted infections, substance use, informal caregiving, and mental health.

Kennedy received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida and completed a postoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina Population Center on adolescent romantic relationships. 


Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, University of Florida; M.A. in cultural anthropology, University of Florida; B.A. in cultural athropology & computer applications, University of Notre Dame


English (native) and Spanish

Selected Work

  • DP Kennedy, SL Wenzel, RA Brown, JS Tucker, D Golinelli., "Unprotected Sex Among Heterosexually Active Homeless Men: Results from a Multilevel Dyadic Analysis," AIDS and Behavior, 17(5), 2013
  • DP Kennedy, Tucker JS, Green HG, Golinelli D, Ewing, B, "Unprotected Sex of Homeless Youth: Results from a Multilevel Analysis of Individual, Social Network, and Relationship Factors," AIDS and Behavior, 16(7), 2012
  • DP Kennedy, SL Wenzel, JS Tucker, HD Green, D Golinelli, GW Ryan, R Beckman and A Zhou, "Unprotected Sex of Homeless Women Living in Los Angeles County: An Investigation of the Multiple Levels of Risk," AIDS and Behavior, 14(4), 2010
  • Kennedy, DP, Osilla, KC, Hunter, SB, Golinelli, D, Maksabedian, E, & Tucker, JS, "A Pilot Test of a Motivational Interviewing Social Network Intervention to Reduce Substance Use among Housing First Residents," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 86, 2018
  • DP Kennedy, SB Hunter, KC Osilla, E Maksabedian, D Golinelli, & JS Tucker, "A computer-assisted motivational social network intervention to reduce alcohol, drug and HIV risk behaviors among Housing First residents," Addiction science & clinical practice, 11(1), 2016
  • Kennedy, DP, KC Osilla, SB Hunter, D Golinelli, E Maksabedian, & JS Tucker, "Restructuring personal networks with a Motivational Interviewing social network intervention to assist the transition out of homelessness: a randomized control pilot study," PLOS ONE, 17(1), 2022
  • Kennedy, David P., Thomas N. Bradbury, and Benjamin R. Karney, "Typologies of Duocentric Networks Among Low-Income Newlywed Couples," Network Science, 11(4), 2023
  • Kennedy, David P., Esther M. Friedman, Allison Kirkegaard, Sarah E. Edgington, and Regina A. Shih, "Perceived Loss of Support to Community Caregivers During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States," Journal of Community Psychology, 2024

Authored by David P. Kennedy

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