Faculty Directory

Christopher Salas-Wright


Assistant Dean, Doctoral Program


Christopher Salas-Wright, PhD, MSW, MA, is Professor and Assistant Dean of the Doctoral Program at the Boston College School of Social Work. His research agenda focuses on the experiences of immigrant youth and families with a particular emphasis on cultural stress, mental health, and substance use prevention. 

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Salas-Wright currently leads studies examining the experiences of Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria and Venezuelan crisis migrants in the United States and Colombia, as well as a substance use prevention study focused on recently-arrived immigrant youth. 

Dr. Salas-Wright has authored more than 225 publications, including first-author articles in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Current Opinion in Psychology, and Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 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.

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 Brazilian Portuguese.


Salas-Wright, C.P., Maldonado-Molina, M.M., Pérez-Gómez, A., Mejía-Trujillo, J., & Schwartz, S.J. (2022). The Venezuelan diaspora: Migration-related experiences and mental health. Current Opinion in Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2022.101430

Salas-Wright, C.P., Cano, M., Hai, A.H., Cano, M.A., Oh, S., Piñeros-Leaño, M., & Vaughn, M.G. (2022). 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, 57, 727-736. doi: 10.1007/s00127-021-02154-1

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., 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, 27(4), 649-658. 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., 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 MD015920 6/7/2022-2/28/2027

The Behavioral Health of Venezuelan Families in Diaspora: A Cross-National Study Stress and Resilience

We aim to conduct the definitive study of the Venezuelan diaspora in the US with a comparison sample in Colombia—a study that will provide knowledge vital to addressing the immediate and longer-term needs of Venezuelan crisis migrant families, and inform responses to future crises.

Role: Principal Investigator

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

RWJF Evidence for Action 8/1/2022-7/31/2024

Testing a novel approach to measuring the mental health impact on emerging adults of exposure to perceived racism-based police-involved interactions

We aim to establish the validity of a survey measure of exposure to racism-based police use of force among Black/African American emerging adults, and extend this measure for Latino emerging adults in the United States.

Role: Co-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

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