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Clayton Neighbors

Clayton Neighbors, Ph.D.

Dr. Neighbors' work focuses on social and motivational influences in etiology, prevention, and treatment of health and risk behaviors. Outcomes of interest include alcohol and substance abuse, problem gambling, and intimate partner violence. Support for this research has been provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Mental Health, the Department of Defense, and the National Center for Responsible Gaming.

Research Interests

  • Alcohol and substance use
  • Social norms and their application to prevention and brief intervention
  • Self-determination and susceptibility to social influences
  • Models of intimate partner violence and aggressive driving and applications to intervention
  • Spiritual and religious influences on behavior and mental health
  • Event specific prevention
  • Social comparison and social identity
  • Implicit and explicit alcohol identity
  • Expressive writing interventions
  • Social Influence within Social Networks 

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Research Assistant Professor

Dipali V. Rinker, Ph.D.

Dipali Rinker

B.A., Psychology, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX (2002)
M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Houston-Clear Lake (2004)
Ph.D., Behavioral Sciences/Health Promotion, UT Health Science Center School of Public Health, Houston (2014)
Minor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Research Interests:

  • Health and risk behaviors of emerging adult populations
  • Brief interventions to reduce risky health behaviors and increase healthy behaviors
  • How social networks contribute to the acquisition of health behaviors and cessation of risky behaviors
  • Environmental correlates and policies that contribute to the risky and healthy behaviors of emerging adults.

Personal Bio:
I have a 8 year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son who keep me busy!

  1. Nguyen, N., Walters, S.T., Rinker, Dipali V., Wyatt, T.M., & DeJong, W. (2011). Fake ID ownership in a US sample of incoming first-year college students. Addictive Behaviors, 36, 759-761.

  2. Rinker, D. V., Lindsay, J.A. Schmitz, J.M., & Green, C.A. (2009). Factor analyses of the Allen Barriers to Treatment Instrument in a sample of women seeking outpatient treatment for substance abuse. Addictive Disorders and Their Treatments, 8(4), 185-190


Affiliated Researcher

Chelsie M. Young, Ph.D.

Chelsie Young

B.A., Psychology, Eastern Illinois University, 2010
M.A., Experimental Psychology, College of William and Mary, 2013
Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Houston, 2016

Academic Positions:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer, University of Houston, 2016-2018
Assistant Professor, Rowan University, 2018-Present

Research Interests:

  • Developing empirically-supported strategies incorporating personalized normative feedback, motivational interviewing, and expressive writing to facilitate behavior change
  • Examining mechanisms of action for behavior change such as the self-conscious emotions of guilt and shame, cognitive processing, and perceptions and norms to gain insight into how such behavior change strategies work and which components are most effective
  • Exploring individual difference factors such as shyness, culture, drinking motives, and defensiveness as moderators of behavior change to better understand for whom such strategies are best suited

  1. Young, C. M., Pedersen, E. R., Pearson, A. D., & Neighbors, C. (2018). Drinking to cope moderates the efficacy of changing Veteran drinking norms as a strategy for reducing drinking and alcohol-related problems among U.S. Veterans. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 32, 213-223. doi: 10.1037/adb0000347
  2. Young, C. M., Neighbors, C., DiBello, A. M., Sharp, C., Zvolensky, M. J., & Lewis, M. A. (2016). Coping motives moderate efficacy of personalized normative  feedback among heavy drinking U.S. college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77, 495-99. doi:10.15288/jsad.2016.77.495
  3. Young, C. M., Neighbors, C., DiBello, A. M., Tomkins, M., & Traylor, Z. K. (2016). Shame and guilt proneness as mediators of the association between general causality orientations and depressive symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35, 357-370. doi:10.1521/jscp.2016.35.5.357
  4. Young, C. M., DiBello, A. M., Steers, M-L. N., Quist, M. C., Foster, D. W., Bryan, J. L., & Neighbors, C. (2016). I like people who drink like me: Perceived appeal as a function of drinking status. Addictive Behaviors, 53, 125-131. PMCID: PMC4679654 doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.10.003
  5. Young, C. M., DiBello, A. M., Traylor, Z. K., Zvolensky, M. J., & Neighbors. C. (2015). A longitudinal examination of the associations between shyness, drinking motives, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39, 1749-1755. doi:10.1111/acer.12799




Mai-Ly Steers, Ph.D.

Mai-Ly Steers


B.A., Biology, University of Southern California, 1999
B.A., Broadcast Journalism, University of Southern California, 1999
M.A., Communication Studies, California State University, Los Angeles, 2007
M.A., Psychology, University of Houston, 2012
Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Houston, 2015

Research Interests
  • Examining psychosocial factors, particularly social norms, in relation to drinking.
  • Exploring the influences of social media on health and well-being.
  • The effect of pervasive technological media, such as social networking sites, on individual norms.
  • The development of novel and social media-related interventions, targeting at-risk drinkers who are also avid social media users.
  • How alcohol-related posts potentially shape and redefine college students’ drinking norms,
  • Social media-specific personalized normative feedback interventions targeting the reduction of drinking among heavy drinking students.


  1. Steers, M.-L. N., Chen, T-A., Neisler, J., Obasi, E., McNeill, L., & Reitzel, L.R. (in press). Lean on Me, I’ll Help You Carry On: The Buffering Effect of Social Support on the Relationship between Every Day Discrimination and Overall Psychological Distress among African-American Adults. Behaviour Research and Therapy.
  2. Steers, M.-L. N., Øverup, C. S., Brunson, J. A., & Acitelli, L. K. (2016). Love online: How relationship awareness on Facebook relates to relationship quality among college students. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 5(3), 203-216.
  3. Steers, M.-L. N., Moreno, M. A., & Neighbors, C. (2016). The Influence of Social Media on Addictive Behaviors in College Students. Current Addiction Reports, 1-6.
  4. Steers, M.-L. N., Øverup, C. S., Brunson, J. A., & Acitelli, L. K. (2016). Love online: How relationship awareness on Facebook relates to relationship quality among college students. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 5(3), 203-216.
  5. Steers, M.-L. N., Moreno, M. A., & Neighbors, C. (2016). The Influence of Social Media on Addictive Behaviors in College Students. Current Addiction Reports, 1-6.
  6. Steers, M.-L. N., Quist, M. C., Bryan, J. L., Foster, D. W., Young, C. M., & Neighbors, C. (2016). I want you to like me: Extraversion, need for approval, and time on Facebook as predictors of anxiety. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 2(3), 283.
  7. Steers, M.-L. N. (2016). ‘It's complicated’: Facebook's relationship with the need to belong and depression. Current Opinion in Psychology, 9, 22-26.
  8. Steers, M.-L. N., Coffman, A. D., Wickham, R. E., Bryan, J. L., Caraway, L.*, & Neighbors, C. (2016). Evaluation of Alcohol-Related Personalized Normative Feedback with and Without an Injunctive Message. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(2), 337-342.
  9. Steers, M.-L. N., Neighbors, C., Hove, M.C., & Olson, N. & Lee, C.M. (2015). Harmonious and Obsessive Passion for Alcohol and Marijuana and Negative Consequences. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 76(5), 749–757.
  10. Steers, M.-L. N., Wickham, R. E., & Acitelli, L. K. (2014). Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33(8), 701-731.
  11. Nguyen, M.-L., & Neighbors, C. (2013). Self-determination, perceived approval, and drinking: Differences between Asian Americans and Whites. Addictive Behaviors, 38(3), 1656-1662.


Lab and Research Coordinator

Pelin Cunningham-Erdogdu, B.A.

Pelin Cunningham-Erdogdu

B.A., International Relations, University of Texas at Arlington


Pelin Cunningham-Erdogdu is the Lab and Research Coordinator for the Social Influences and Health Behaviors Lab. As a research coordinator, Pelin assists in recruitment and data management for several projects related to drinking, gambling, and other addictive behaviors. She holds an International Relations B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington, and is currently pursuing a B.A. in Psychology as a post baccalaureate student at the University of Houston. Her research interests include the effect of diversifying and adverse experiences on individual success and health, the impacts of shame and guilt on recovery post-trauma, and persuasion.


  1. Cunningham-Erdogdu, P.A., Petit, W.E., & Knee, C.R., (2019). The Role of Shame and Guilt in Predicting Infidelity. Poster accepted for presentation at the annual convention of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology Conference, Portland, OR.
  2. Cunningham-Erdogdu, P.A., Bennett, V.E., & Babcock, J.C., (2018). Risk factors for female-perpetrated IPV. Poster accepted for presentation at the 23rd annual convention of the International Summit on Violence, Abuse, & Trauma, San Diego, CA.

Current Graduate Students

Mary M. Tomkins, M.S.

Mary M Tomkins

B.S. Psychology, Abilene Christian University
M.S. Psychology, Abilene Christian University


Research Interests:
Mary Tomkins is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the social psychology program at the University of Houston. Her research is primarily focused on religiousness, specifically how it is related to alcohol use and how it can be incorporated into brief alcohol interventions. She is also currently working on projects related to the effects and buffers of ostracism, social-belongingness interventions, and the ways in which religion can be healthy or unhealthy.


  1. Tomkins, M. M., Neighbors, C., & Steers, M. N. (2018). Contrasting the effects of harmonious and obsessive passion for religion on stress and drinking: Give me that old time religion ... and a beer. Alcohol
  2. Tomkins, M. M., Neighbors, C., & Park., C. L., (2018) Expressing Discrepancies between Religious Affiliations and Drinking Reduces Drinking Intentions. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality


Jordanna Lembo Riggs, M.A.

Jordanna Lembo

B.A. Psychology, from Pennsylvania State University
M.A. Psychology, from the University of Houston


Research Interests:
Jordanna Lembo Riggs is a fourth-year doctoral student in the social psychology program at the University of Houston. Her interests include exploring the relationship between alcohol, environmental cues, and unwanted sexual contact. Developing preventions/interventions to reduce unwanted sexual experiences.

No information is available at this time.

Joanne Angosta, B.A.


B.A. Psychology, from University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Research Interests:
Joanne Angosta is a second-year doctoral student in the social psychology program at the University of Houston. Her current research interest primarily focus on the influence of social identity on addictive behaviors. She is also interested in incorporating brief alcohol interventions for different populations. Specifically, she is working on projects examining the usage of a personalized normative feedback intervention for people with HIV/AIDS, a college student intervention for alcohol-related consequences, and interventions utilizing social networks.

No information is available at this time.


Carol Wang, M.A.


B.S. Psychology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
M.A. Psychology, from the University of Houston


Research Interests:
Carol Wang is currently a third-year doctoral student in the Social Psychology Program at the University of Houston working with Dr. Clayton Neighbors. She is also a Komen Research Fellow in Health Disparities Research at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she collaborates with Dr. Qian Lu. Her research interests include resilience, post-traumatic growth, positive psychology, social class, and culture in the context of health outcomes. Her work focuses on understanding the mechanisms that drive individuals to be resilient in the face of adversity such as cancer survivors and individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and developing interventions that cultivate well-being and promote healthy behaviors.


  1. You, J., Wang, C., & Lu, Q. (2018). Socioeconomic status and quality of life among Chinese American breast cancer survivors: The mediating roles of social support and social constraints. Psycho-Oncology. 27(7):1742-1749. Doi:10.1002/pon.4719
  2. Wang, C., Wong, C., & Lu, Q. (2017). The pain of ambivalence over emotional expression. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1-7. Doi:10.1007/s12529-017-9696-6
  3. You, J., Wang, C., Rodriguez, L., Wang, X., & Lu, Q. (2017). Personality, coping strategies, and emotional adjustment among Chinese cancer patients of different ages. European Journal of Cancer Care. Doi:10.1111/ecc.12781
  4. Rodriguez, L., Cho, D.,  Buckwater, V., Wang, C., & Lu, Q. (under review).  The power of beliefs about life and disease among Chinese cancer survivors.
  5. Choi, M.*, Wang, C. *, Wong, C., Correa, A., & Lu, Q. (revise and resubmit). The role of cognitive appraisal in intergenerational family conflict and depressive symptoms
  6. Wang, C. & Neighbors, C. (in prep). Traumatic events and gambling problems.
  7. Wang, C., & Lu, Q. (in prep). Benefit finding, social class, and quality of life among cancer survivors

    *indicates joint first-authorship

Book Chapters

  1. Angosta, J., Wang, C., & Neighbors, C. (in press). Social influences on adolescent substance abuse. In S.Hupp and In J. Jewell (Eds), The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. Wiley‐Blackwell: Hoboken, New Jersey.
  2. Spencer-Rodgers, J., Anderson, E., Ma-Kellams, C., Wang, C., & Peng, K. (2018). What is dialectical thinking? Conceptualization and measurement. In J. Spencer-Rodgers, & K. Peng (Eds.), The psychological and cultural foundations of East Asian cognition: Contradiction, change, and holism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. In press.


Andrew Weinstein, B.S.


A.S. Criminal Justice, Jamestown Community College
B.S. Political Science, State University of New York the College at Brockport
B.S. Psychology, University of New Mexico


Research Interest:
Andrew Weinstein is a first-year doctoral student in the social psychology program at the University of Houston. His research interests focus around understanding the interaction of intrinsic motivation with cannabis use, alcohol use, and their related outcomes among college students.


  1. Bravo, A. J., Weinstein, A. P., Pearson, M. R., & Protective Strategies Study Team (in press). The relationship between risk factors and alcohol and marijuana use outcomes among concurrent users: A comprehensive examination of protective behavioral strategies. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Research Gate: