hero image
Joan Tucker - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Joan Tucker Joan Tucker

Adjunct Lecturer Dept. of Children Youth and Families | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Social work and mental health expert, focusing on behavioral science


Joan Tucker is a lecturer and teaches a course on evaluation in mental health settings. She currently serves as a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. In this role, she conducts research in the areas of substance use and HIV/AIDS.

Since 1998, she has been funded as a principal investigator by the National Institutes of Health and has published more than 170 peer-reviewed papers. 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 her recent research has focused on developing and evaluating brief interventions for substance use and sexual risk behaviors.

Tucker is an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Society of Behavioral Medicine and Western Psychological Association.

Education (2)

University of California, Riverside: PhD 1993

University of California, Irvine: BA 1985

Areas of Expertise (3)

Sexual Practices among HIV-positive Adults Behavioral Science Developmental Trajectories

Industry Expertise (5)

Public Policy Health and Wellness Research Education/Learning Mental Health Care

Affiliations (2)

  • Western Psychological Association: President
  • Association for Psychological Science: Fellow


Articles & Publications (1)

Predictors and consequences of prescription drug misuse during middle school Drug and Alcohol Dependence


Non-medical prescription drug use (NMPDU) is a growing public health problem among adolescents. This is the first study to examine the correlates of early NMPDU initiation during middle school, and how early initiation is associated with four domains of functioning in high school (mental health, social, academic, and delinquency).

view more