W. Alex Mason

Cross Appointment
Senior Director, Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center

alex mason headshot

Get to know Dr. Mason


I am a prevention scientist with interests in the developmental etiology as well as family- and school-based prevention of adolescent substance misuse and co-occurring externalizing/internalizing problems. I also conduct work in implementation science, seeking innovative ways to scale evidence-based preventive interventions and bridge the science-to-practice gap for public health benefit. My interests further include longitudinal and intervention methods.


  • Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Nevada at Reno
  • M.A., General Psychology, University of Northern Colorado
  • B.S., Psychology/Sociology, Southwest Baptist University

Publications and Other Scholarly Activities

Mason, W.A., Cogua-Lopez, J., & Thompson, R.W. (in press). Turning a big ship: Applying unleashing the power of prevention to treatment settings. An invited commentary. Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research.

Mason, W.A., Cogua-Lopez, J., Fleming, C.B., & Scheier, L.M. (2018). Challenges Facing Evidence-Based Prevention: Incorporating an Abductive Theory of Method. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 41, 155-182.

Mason, W.A., Russo, M.J., Chmelka, M.B., Herrenkohl, R.C., & Herrenkohl, T.I. (2017). Parent and peer pathways linking childhood experiences of abuse with marijuana use in adolescence and adulthood. Addictive Behaviors, 66, 70-75.

Savolainen, J., Mason, W.A., Lyyra, A.-L., Pulkkinen, L., & Kokko, K. (2017). Antisocial and human capital pathways to socioeconomic exclusion: 42-Year prospective study. Developmental Psychology, 53, 1597-1609.

Mason, W.A., Fleming, C.B., Gross, T.J., Thompson, R.W., Parra, G.R., & Snyder, J.J. (2016). Randomized trial of parent training to prevent adolescent problem behaviors during the high school transition. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(8), 944-954.

Mason, W.A., January, S-A.A., Chmelka, M.B., Parra, G.R., Savolainen, J., Miettunen, J., Järvelin, M-R., Taanila, A., & Moilanen, I. (2016). Cumulative contextual risk at birth in relation to adolescent substance use, conduct problems, and risky sex: General and specific predictive associations in a Finnish birth cohort. Addictive Behaviors, 58, 161-166.


  • Senior Director, Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center.
  • Consistent funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Education Sciences.
  • Regular grant review member for the National Institutes of Health and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
  • Society for Prevention Research (SPR), Board of Directors Member.
  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Loan Repayment Participant.