Jessica Salvatore, Ph.D.

Dr. Jessica Salvatore

Research Assistant Professor
Developmental Psychology
817 W Franklin, suite B-16, rm B-026
(804) 828-8132

Research Assistant Professor
Ph.D. (2011), University of Minnesota

Doctoral Program Affiliation

Developmental Psychology


Research Interests

I am interested in close relationships and alcohol misuse. My work focuses on how close relationship processes and alcohol misuse interface across development, particularly in the high-risk emerging adulthood period. I take a genetically informed perspective in order to understand how genetic predispositions for alcohol use disorder influence relationship outcomes (i.e., gene-environment correlation), and the circumstances under which relationship factors moderate alcohol use disorder genetic predispositions (i.e., gene-environment interaction). The larger goal of this work is to understand how genetic and relationship factors predict trajectories of alcohol misuse to better inform personalized interventions for individuals who are at-risk. 

Select Publications

Salvatore, J. E., Cho, S. B., & Dick, D. M. (in press). Genes, environments, and sex differences in alcohol research. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Salvatore, J. E., Larsson Lönn, S., Sundquist, J., Lichtenstein, P., Sundquist, K., & Kendler, K. (2017). Alcohol use disorder and divorce: Evidence for a genetic correlation in a population-based Swedish sample. Addiction, 112, 586-593. doi:10.1111/add.13719
Salvatore, J. E., & Dick, D. M. (2016). Genetic influences on conduct disorder. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.034 
Salvatore, J. E., Thomas, N. S., Cho, S. B., Adkins, A., Kendler, K. S., & Dick, D. M. (2016). The role of romantic relationship status in pathways of risk for emerging adult alcohol use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30, 335-344. doi: 10.1037/adb0000145
Salvatore, J. E., Aliev, F., Edwards, A. C., Evans, D. M., Macleod, J., Hickman, M., . . . Dick, D. M. (2014). Polygenic scores predict alcohol problems in an independent sample and show moderation by the environment. Genes, 5, 330-346. doi: 10.3390/genes5020330

Recent Courses

  • Love and Drugs: The Science Behind Media Portrayals of Romance and Substances of Abuse, undergraduate level
  • The Nature and Nurture of Sports Performance, undergraduate level
  • Spit for Science: Conducting and Understanding Research, undergraduate level

Recent Grants

Genetics, Romantic Relationships, and Alcohol Misuse in Emerging Adulthood

Amount: $740,707
Role: Principal Investigator
Source: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Period: 5/2016 - 4/2021
Number: K01AA024152

A Conceptual Analysis of the Dyad as a Unit of Analysis in Genetically Informed Research (Junior Investigator Award)

Amount: $7,500
Role: Principal Investigator
Source: Genetics and Human Agency Initiative (Templeton Foundation Award)
Period: 8/2016 - 7/2017

Genetically-Informed Designs of Externalizing Behavior and Romantic Relationships

Role: Principal Investigator
Source: National Research Service Award
Period: 9/2013 - 9/2015
Number: F32AA022269

Genetic Predispositions to Alcohol and Substance Use Problems and Romantic Relationship Functioning: Evidence for Mediation, Moderation, and Assortative Mating?

Role: Principal Investigator
Source: VCU Postdoctoral Association
Period: 9/2013 - 9/2014

Recent Awards

  • 2016-2021, Mentored Research Scientist Award, National Institutes of Health
  • 2014-2016, Loan Repayment Program Award, National Institutes of Health
  • 2013-2015, National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health

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