Dr. Jessica Salvatore

Dr. Jessica Salvatore

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

Assistant Professor
Developmental Psychology
PhD (2011), University of Minnesota

Web sites: Dr. Salvatore's Research and TeachingExamining Development, Genes, and Environment (EDGE) Lab

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. 

Selected Publications

Salvatore, J. E., & Dick, D. M. (2016). Genetic influences on conduct disorder. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.034
Kendler, K. S., Lönn, S. L., Salvatore, J., Sundquist, J., & Sundquist, K. (2016). Effect of marriage on risk for onset of alcohol use disorder: A longitudinal and co-relative analysis in a Swedish national sample. American Journal of Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15111373
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., Meyers, J. L., Yan, J., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., ... Dick, D. M. (2015). Intergenerational continuity in parents’ and adolescents’ externalizing problems: The role of life events and their interaction with GABRA2. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 709-728. doi: 10.1037/abn0000066
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

  • 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. Principal Investigator. May 2016-April 2021. National Institutes of Health; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). K01AA024152, $740,707.
Genetically-informed designs of externalizing behavior and romantic relationships. Principal Investigator. 09/05/13-09/04/15. F32 AA022269, National Research Service Award.
Genetic predispositions to alcohol and substance use problems and romantic relationship functioning: Evidence for mediation, moderation, and assortative mating? Principal Investigator. 09/18/13-09/17/14 . VCU Postdoctoral Association.


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

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