Faculty Directory

Christopher Salas-Wright


Assistant Dean, Doctoral Program


Christopher Salas-Wright, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.A., is Professor and Assistant Dean of the Doctoral Program at 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 200 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 is a chartered member of NIH’s Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section and serves on the editorial boards of the Encyclopedia of Social Work and the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Currently, Dr. Salas-Wright is Principal Investigator (PI) of an NIMHD-funded R01 study examining the experiences of Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria and an NIAAA-funded K01 Career Development Award focused on the prevention of adolescent substance use and violence.

Dr. Salas-Wright received his PhD from Boston College before completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University and later holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Boston University. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and proficient in Portuguese.


Salas-Wright, C.P., Cano, M., Hai, A.H., Cano, M.A., Oh, S., Piñeros-Leaño, M., & Vaughn, M.G. (2021). Alcohol abstinence and binge drinking: The intersections of language and gender among Hispanic adults in a national sample, 2002-2018. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00127-021-02154-1

Salas-Wright, C.P., Oh, S., Vaughn, M.G., Pérez-Gómez, A., Mejía-Trujillo, J., Montero-Zamora, P., Andrade, P., Cohen, M., Scaramutti, C., Rodríguez, J., & Schwartz, S.J. (2021). A validation of the Perceived Negative Context of Reception scale with recently-arrived Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia and the United States. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000455

Salas-Wright, C.P., Goings, T.C., Vaughn, M.G., Cohen, M., Adrade, P., Pérez-Gómez, A., Duque, M., Mejia-Trujillo, J., Maldonado-Molina, M.M., & Schwartz, S.J. (2021). Health risk behavior and cultural stress among Venezuelan youth: A person centered approach. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 56, 219-228. doi: 10.1007/s00127-020-01905-w

Salas-Wright, C.P., Cano, M., Hai, A.H., Oh, S., & Vaughn, M.G. (2021). Prevalence and correlates of driving under the influence of cannabis in the United States. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 606, e251-e260. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2021.01.021

Salas-Wright, C.P., Maldonado-Molina, M.M., Brown, E.C., Bates, M., Rodríguez, J., García, M.F., & Schwartz, S.J. (2021). Cultural stress theory in the context of family crisis migration: Implications for behavioral health with illustrations from the Adelante Boricua study. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 46(4), 586-608. doi: 10.1007/s12103-021-09626-9

Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Goings, T.C., Cobb, C.L., Cohen, M., Montero-Zamora, P., Eschmann, R., John, R., Andrade, P., Oliveros, K., Rodríguez, J., Maldonado-Molina, M.M., & Schwartz, S.J. (2020). Toward a typology of transnational communication among Venezuelan immigrant youth: Implications for behavioral health. Advance online publication. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. doi: 10.1007/s10903-020-01099-y

Salas-Wright, C.P., Schwartz, S.J., Cohen, M., Maldonado-Molina, M.M., Vaughn, M.G., Sanchez, M., Rodriguez, J., AbiNader, M., John, R., Oliveros, K., & Andrade, P. (2020). Cultural stress and substance use risk among Venezuelan migrant youth in the United States. Substance Use & Misuse, 55(13), 2175-2183. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2020.1795684

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

Salas-Wright, C.P., Vaughn, M.G., Cohen, M., & Schwartz, S.J. (2020). The sequelae of pre-migration hunger among Venezuelan immigrant children in the United States. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 58(3), 467-469. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.10.010

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. Addictive Behaviors, 104, 106269. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106269


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