Our Work

current research

Brief DBT-A in a School-based Setting
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A) has been shown to be an effective program for a variety of adolescent problem behaviors. However, no study to date has examined the use of DBT-A as a substance abuse prevention program among youth, moreover in a school setting. The objective of this study is to test preliminary effectiveness of DBT-A in a school-based setting in 1) increasing emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills and 2) reducing the likelihood or actual engagement in risky behavior, including substance use, among youth.

Piloting An Evidence-Based MET/CBT+ CM Substance Treatment Program in a School-Based Setting
The objective of this study is to test the feasibility and estimate the effectiveness of a manual-standardized motivational enhancement (MET)/cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) plus contingency management (CM) intervention in changing the number of days of substance use among students in the public school system with a substance use disorder. Secondary aims will determine the impact of the intervention on abstinence achieved during the intervention and changes in co- occurring psychiatric symptom severity. 

Exploring Concurrent Substance Use among Adolescents
This study examines patterns of single and concurrent marijuana use and their association with substance-related consequences among adolescent substance users by race. The study uses online daily diary surveys to quantitatively compare current patterns of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use, and consequences associated with specific patterns of use. The study also involves qualitative interviews among a subsample of  youth to identify potential mechanisms that differentiate users of marijuana only from concurrent users of marijuana and other substances. The goal of this research is to better understand how marijuana use contributes to racial disparities in substance-related consequences and to identify African American youth at greatest risk for such consequences.

recent publications

Zapolski, T.C.B., Banks, D.E., Lau, K.S.L., Aalsma, M.C. (in press). Perceived police injustice, moral disengagement, and aggression among juvenile offenders: Utilizing the General Strain Theory model. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. doi:10.1007/s10578-017-0750-z

Banks, D. E., Rowe, A. T., Mpofu, P., & Zapolski, T.C.B. (2017). Trends in typologies of concurrent alcohol, marijuana and cigarette use among US adolescents: An ecological examination by sex and race/ethnicity. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179, 71-77doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.06.026

Zapolski, T. C. B., Fisher, S., Banks, D. E., Hensel, D. J., & Barnes-Najor, J. V. (2017). Examining the protective effect of ethnic identity on drug attitudes and use among a diverse youth population. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(8), 1702-1715. doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0605-0

Zapolski, T. C. B., Baldwin, P., Banks, D. E., & Stump, T. E. (2017). Does a crossover age effect exist for African American and Hispanic binge drinkers? Findings from the 2010-2013 National Study on Drug Use and Health. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 41(6), 1129-1136doi:10.1111/acer.13380/

Banks, D. E., Zapolski, T. C. B. (2017). Racial differences in the link between alcohol expectancies and adolescent drinking. Addictive Behaviors, 67, 34-37. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.12.005

Banks, D. E. & Zapolski, T.C.B. (2017). Impulsivity and problem drinking in college: Examining the mediating role of sex-related alcohol expectancies and alcohol use at sex. Substance Use and Misuse, 52(8), 992-1002. doi:10.1080/10826084.2016.1268629

Fisher, S., Zapolski, T.C.B., Sheehan, C., & Barnes-Najor, J. (2017). Pathway of protection: Ethnic identity, self-esteem, and substance use among multiracial youth. Addictive Behaviors, 72, 27-32. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.03.003

Zapolski, T.C.B., & Smith, G.T. (2016). Pilot study: Implementing a brief DBT skills program in schools to reduce health risk behaviors among early adolescents. Journal of School Nursing, 33(3), 198-204doi:10.1177/1059840516673188

Zapolski, T.C.B., Fisher, S., Wen, W, & Barnes-Najor, J. (2016). What can parents do? Examining the role of parents on buffering the negative relationship between racial discrimination, negative affect, and behavioral outcomes among African American youth. Clinical Psychological Science, 4(4), 718-731. doi:10.1177/2167702616646371

Zapolski, T.C.B., Baldwin, P. & Lejuez, C.W. (2016). Examining risk for frequency cocaine use: Focus on an African American treatment population. Substance Use & Misuse, 51(7), 882-891. doi:10.3109/10826084.2016.1155618

Zapolski, T.C.B., Lau, K.S., Garcia, C.A., Jarjoura, G.R. & Aaslma, M.C. (2016). Examining the influence of ethnic/racial socialization on aggressive behaviors among juvenile offenders. Journal of Juvenile Justice, 5(1), 65-79. Retrieved from

Hershberger, A., Zapolski, T.C.B., & Aaslma, M.C. (2016). Social support as a buffer between discrimination and cigarette use in juvenile offenders. Addictive Behaviors, 59, 7-11. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.03.00

Dir, A. L., Banks, D. E., Zapolski, T. C. B., McIntyre, E., Hulvershorn, L. A. (2016). Negative urgency and emotion regulation predict positive smoking expectancies in non- smoking youth. Addictive Behaviors, 58, 47-52. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.02.014