Faculty Directory

Christopher Salas-Wright



Christopher Salas-Wright, PhD, MSW, MA, is a Professor in the Boston College School of Social Work. His research agenda focuses on stress and resilience among immigrants, substance use epidemiology, and the prevention of adolescent problem behavior. 

Dr. Salas-Wright has authored more than 175 publications, including two books and first-author articles in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and the Journal of Adolescent Health. He serves as Assistant Editor for the International Journal of Intercultural Relations and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of Criminal Justice, and the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He is also a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation and an ad hoc reviewer for the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health. 

Dr. Salas-Wright has received research and training support from several NIH institutes. Currently, he is Principal Investigator (PI) of an NIMHD-funded R01 study examining cultural stress and resilience in the lives of Puerto Rican families displaced to the mainland United States following Hurricane Maria. He is also PI of a NIAAA-funded K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award focused on substance use and violence prevention among Latin American immigrant youth. Previously, he served as PI of an NIAAA-funded R25 Research Education Program focused on the dissemination of substance use intervention knowledge to clinical faculty in social work. 

His research and commentary have appeared in numerous television and print sources, including ABC, NBC, and CBS News, CNN, and USA TODAY. In 2019, Dr. Salas-Wright received the Society for Social Work and Research’s (SSWR) Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award, the organization’s premier honor for early career faculty. In 2020, he was inaugurated as a SSWR Fellow in recognition of his efforts to advance social work practice and policy in the United States. 

Dr. Salas-Wright received his PhD in Social Work from the Boston College School of Social Work and earned a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from BC’s School of Theology and Ministry. After his doctoral studies, he completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies before holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Boston University. Dr. Salas-Wright is fluent in English and Spanish, and is proficient in Portuguese.  


  1. Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Goings, T.C., Oh, S., Delva, J., Cohen, M., Schwartz, S.J. (2020). Trends and mental health correlates of discrimination among Latin American and Asian immigrants in the United States. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 55, 477-486. doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01811-w

  2. Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Goings, T.C., Oh, S., Marsiglia, F.F., Cohen, M., John, R., Andrade, P., & Schwartz, S.J. (2020). Disconcerting rates of alcohol use among Venezuelan immigrant adolescents in the United States. Additive Behaviors, 104, 106269. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106269

  3. Salas-Wright, C.P., & Schwartz, S.J. (2019). The study and prevention of alcohol and other drug misuse among migrants: Toward a transnational theory of cultural stress. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17(2), 346-369. doi: 10.1007/s11469-018-0023-5

  4. Salas-Wright, C.P., Carbone, J.T., Holzer, K.J., & Vaughn, M.G. (2019). Prevalence and correlates of cannabis poisoning diagnosis in a national emergency department sample. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 204(1), 107564. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107564

  5. Salas-Wright, C.P., John, R., Vaughn, M.G., Eschmann, R.D., Cohen, M., AbiNader, M.A., & Delva, J. (2019). Trends in cannabis use among immigrants in the United States, 2002-2017: Evidence from two national surveys. Addictive Behaviors, 99, 106029. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106029

  6. Salas-Wright, C.P., AbiNader, M., Vaughn, M.G., Schwartz, S.J., Oh, S., Delva, J., & Marsiglia, F.F. (2019). Trends in substance use prevention program participation among adolescents in the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63(3), 426-429. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.04.010

  7. Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Miller, D.P., Hahm, H. C., Scaramutti, C., Cohen, M., Delva, J., & Schwartz. S.J. (2019). Overeating and binge eating among immigrants in the United States: New terrain for the healthy immigrant hypothesis. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 54(8), 1007-1017. doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01677-y

  8. Salas-Wright, C.P., AbiNader, M., Vaughn, M.G., Sanchez, M., Oh, S., & Goings, T.C. (2019). National trends in parental communication with their teenage children about the dangers of substance use, 2002-2016. The Journal of Primary Prevention 40(4), 483-490. doi: 10.1007/s10935-019-00559-y

  9. Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Goings, T.C., Miller, D.P., Chang, J., & Schwartz, S.J. (2018) Alcohol-related problem behavior among Latino immigrants in the US: Evidence from a national sample. Addictive Behaviors, 87, 206-213. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.06.031

  10. Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Goings, T.C., Miller, D.P., Schwartz, S.J. (2018). Immigrants and mental disorders in the United States: New evidence on the healthy immigrant hypothesis. Psychiatry Research, 267, 438-445. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.06.039


R01 MD014694 8/14/2019-4/30/2024

Post-Maria Puerto Rican Families Relocated to Florida: A Multisite Study of Alcohol Misuse and Mental Health

The goal of this study is to assist Puerto Rican families in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. We focus on alcohol misuse based on findings from research indicating elevated levels of alcohol use among island-born Puerto Ricans prior to the storm and increases in alcohol misuse in response to trauma and migration-related stressors.

Role: Principal Investigator

K01 AA026645 9/1/2018-8/31/2023

Preventing Alcohol and Other Drug Use and Violence among Latino Youth

The overall objective of this K01 project is to adapt a school-based, SAMHSA model substance use intervention to include a focus on violence prevention. This includes research and training in the areas of qualitative research, intervention adaptation, and prevention implementation and outcomes research. 

Role: Principal Investigator

R25 MH104660 (PI: J. Gallo) 03/01/2019-06/30/2020

Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences

The goal of this program is to provide a state-of-the-art methodology training to enhance the mixed methods skills of investigators. The R25 accepts 14 investigators/year who participate in an in-person training program. 

Role: Scholar | Research Fellow

KL2 Award (via KL2 TR001411) 4/1/2017-08/31/2018

Toward the Prevention of Substance Use and Violence among Latino Youth

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s KL2 Mentored Career Development Award supports promising translational researchers. This project focused on establishing collaborative partnerships with Latino-focused organizations in Boston to inform future prevention work.

Role: Principal Investigator

R25 AA021714 1/15/2017-1/02/2018

The Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Program (ADEP) for Social Work Faculty

The ADEP Program for Social Work Faculty promoted the use of empirically-supported substance use identification and treatment methods via intensive, in-person training. 

Role: Principal Investigator / Consultant 


2019 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award, Society for Social Work and Research

2020 Fellow, Society for Social Work and Research