Carolyn F. Wong, PhD

Associate Professor of Research Pediatrics

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As a Social Health Psychologist, much of Dr. Wong’s scientific work has been devoted to understanding how developmental risk factors, trauma, and stress (e.g., discrimination, violence and victimization) lead to maladaptive coping behaviors (e.g., substance use, sexual risk-taking) and how that translates to poor mental and physical health outcomes. She is also interested in investigating how psychosocial protective factors (e.g., resilience and social support, access to health programs) from different spheres of life might impact these associations.

Major areas of research includes:
1. Cannabis, tobacco, alcohol, and their co-use, other substance use, policy impacts, and health outcomes
2. HIV risk, substance use, mental health among sexual-minority and gender-minority adolescents and young adults
3. Translation science: how best to utilize research to inform programs and interventions
4. Health disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations
5. Tailored intervention development for high-risk adolescents and young adults

Dr. Wong is currently an Associate Professor of Research in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine at USC.


  • Latent transition analysis of time-varying cannabis use motives to inform adaptive interventions Psychol Addict Behav. 2024 May 23. . View in PubMed
  • Medicinal cannabis use among young adults during California’s transition from legalized medical use to adult-use: a longitudinal analysis Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2024 Feb 26; 1-13. . View in PubMed
  • Mental and Physical Health-Related Cannabis Motives Mediate the Relationship between Childhood Trauma and Problematic Cannabis Use over Time among Emerging Adult Cannabis Users Subst Use Misuse. 2024; 59(2):193-207. . View in PubMed
  • Pre-Post Cannabis Legalization for Adult Use: A Trend Study of Two Cohorts of Young Adult Cannabis Users in Los Angeles J Psychoactive Drugs. 2023 Nov 24; 1-11. . View in PubMed
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake and Attitudes Within Two Cohorts of Younger Adult Cannabis Users J Drug Issues. 2023 Jul; 53(3):422-430. . View in PubMed
  • Understanding Changes in Social Cannabis Use among Young Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Social Network Analysis Cannabis. 2023; 6(1):20-33. . View in PubMed
  • COVID-19’s Impact on Substance Use and Well-Being of Younger Adult Cannabis Users in California: A Mixed Methods Inquiry J Drug Issues. 2022 Apr; 52(2):207-224. . View in PubMed
  • Changes in Medical Cannabis Patient Status before and after Cannabis Legalization in California: Associations with Cannabis and Other Drug Use J Psychoactive Drugs. 2022 Apr-Jun; 54(2):129-139. . View in PubMed
  • Egocentric Network Characteristics and Cannabis Use in a Sample of Young Adult Medical Cannabis Patients and Nonpatient Users J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2022 11; 83(6):802-811. . View in PubMed
  • Linking health education, civic engagement, and research at a large Federally Qualified Health Center to address health disparities Health Serv Res. 2022 06; 57 Suppl 1:105-110. . View in PubMed
  • Coping Motives Mediate the Association of Trauma History with Problematic Cannabis Use in Young Adult Medical Cannabis Patients and Non-Patient Cannabis Users Subst Use Misuse. 2022; 57(5):684-697. . View in PubMed
  • Pain Profiles among Young Adult Cannabis Users: An Analysis of Antecedent Factors and Distal Outcomes Subst Use Misuse. 2021; 56(8):1144-1154. . View in PubMed
  • Attitudes and beliefs about recreational cannabis legalization among cannabis-using young adults in Los Angeles: Impact on concurrent cannabis practices and problematic cannabis use Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 11 01; 228:109053. . View in PubMed
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) and other drug use among young adults who use cannabis in Los Angeles Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 04 01; 221:108648. . View in PubMed
  • The Role of Life Events/Contextual Factors and Cannabis Use in Patterns of Other Drug Use Among Young Adult Cannabis Users in Los Angeles: A Qualitative Inquiry J Drug Issues. 2020 Apr; 50(2):157-172. . View in PubMed
  • Developmental trajectories of illicit drug use, prescription drug misuse and cannabis practices among young adult cannabis users in Los Angeles Drug Alcohol Rev. 2020 09; 39(6):743-752. . View in PubMed
  • Marijuana sources in a medical marijuana environment: dynamics in access and use among a cohort of young adults in Los Angeles, California Drugs (Abingdon Engl). 2020; 27(1):69-78. . View in PubMed
  • A Focus on the HIV Care Continuum Through the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study JMIR Res Protoc. 2019 Jan 24; 8(1):e10738. . View in PubMed
  • Engaging Young Men in the HIV Prevention and Care Continua: Experiences From Young Men of Color Who Have Sex With Men AIDS Educ Prev. 2019 08; 31(4):325-343. . View in PubMed
  • Simulation-based training for trauma resuscitation among ACS TQIP-Pediatric centers: Understanding prevalence of use, associated center characteristics, training factors, and implementation barriers Am J Surg. 2019 01; 217(1):180-185. . View in PubMed
  • Density of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Current Marijuana Use among Young Adult Marijuana Users in Los Angeles Subst Use Misuse. 2019; 54(11):1862-1874. . View in PubMed
  • Illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse among young adult medical cannabis patients and non-patient users in Los Angeles Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 05 01; 198:21-27. . View in PubMed
  • Becoming a medical marijuana user Int J Drug Policy. 2018 02; 52:62-70. . View in PubMed
  • Health conditions and motivations for marijuana use among young adult medical marijuana patients and non-patient marijuana users Drug Alcohol Rev. 2018 02; 37(2):237-246. . View in PubMed
  • Marijuana practices and patterns of use among young adult medical marijuana patients and non-patient marijuana users Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Jan 01; 170:181-188. . View in PubMed
  • The Impact of Specific and Complex Trauma on the Mental Health of Homeless Youth J Interpers Violence. 2016 Mar; 31(5):831-54. . View in PubMed
  • Risk factors for high levels of prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use among substance-using young men who have sex with men (YMSM) Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 May 01; 150:156-63. . View in PubMed
  • Network correlates of sexual health advice seeking and substance use among members of the Los Angeles House and Ball communities Health Educ Res. 2014 Apr; 29(2):306-18. . View in PubMed
  • Minority stress experiences and psychological well-being: the impact of support from and connection to social networks within the Los Angeles House and Ball communities Prev Sci. 2014 Feb; 15(1):44-55. . View in PubMed
  • Coping and emotion regulation profiles as predictors of nonmedical prescription drug and illicit drug use among high-risk young adults Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Sep 01; 132(1-2):165-71. . View in PubMed
  • Changes in developmental contexts as predictors of transitions in HIV-risk behaviors among young men who have sex with men (YMSM) Am J Community Psychol. 2013 Jun; 51(3-4):439-50. . View in PubMed
  • Personal social network factors associated with overdose prevention training participation Subst Use Misuse. 2013 Jan; 48(1-2):21-30. . View in PubMed
  • Initiation into prescription drug misuse: differences between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and heterosexual high-risk young adults in Los Angeles and New York Addict Behav. 2012 Nov; 37(11):1289-93. . View in PubMed
  • A meta-analysis of disparities in childhood sexual abuse, parental physical abuse, and peer victimization among sexual minority and sexual nonminority individuals Am J Public Health. 2011 Aug; 101(8):1481-94. . View in PubMed
  • Race/Ethnicity is not associated with mortality in the PICU Pediatrics. 2011 Mar; 127(3):e588-97. . View in PubMed
  • Human immunodeficiency virus testing and risk behaviors among young men who have sex with men in Los Angeles County Am J Health Promot. 2011 Mar-Apr; 25(4):244-7. . View in PubMed
  • Harassment, discrimination, violence, and illicit drug use among young men who have sex with men AIDS Educ Prev. 2010 Aug; 22(4):286-98. . View in PubMed
  • The impact of recent stressful experiences on HIV-risk related behaviors J Adolesc. 2010 Jun; 33(3):463-75. . View in PubMed
  • Strategies Used by Gay and Bisexual Young Men to Cope with Heterosexism J Gay Lesbian Soc Serv. 2008 Oct 01; 20(4):354-380. . View in PubMed
  • Risk factors for alcohol use, frequent use, and binge drinking among young men who have sex with men Addict Behav. 2008 Aug; 33(8):1012-20. . View in PubMed
  • Residential status as a risk factor for drug use and HIV risk among young men who have sex with men AIDS Behav. 2007 Nov; 11(6 Suppl):56-69. . View in PubMed