Youth Development, Context, and Prevention (Cruz Lab)

Youth Development, Context, and Prevention (Cruz Lab)
youth development; socioecology; prevention and intervention; youth and families
Lab Area
Clinical Psychology
Lab Director
Rick A. Cruz, Ph.D
Actively Recruiting Undergraduate Researchers
Contact Us

Our group utilizes community- and clinic-based research to understand positive and problematic youth development. We focus on understanding diverse youth development within multiple levels of context, ranging from individual factors, family factors, to broader socioecological factors such as culture and socioeconomic status. Our work is designed to improve prevention and intervention efforts for diverse youth and families. We are also engaged in traditional clinical research focused on assessment, prevention and treatment with diverse youth and families

Rick A. Cruz, PhD

Rick Cruz

Dr. Cruz is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at ASU. Previously, he was an Associate Professor with tenure at Utah State University. Dr. Cruz is a Clinical Child Psychologist by training, and his research focuses on the development, prevention, and treatment of mental health and substance use problems among diverse youths and families. His work has a special focus on the intersections of sociocultural, familial and individual factors that contribute to variability in mental health and substance use among Latinx children, adolescents, and young adults. He also has interests in measurement-based care to promote effective and efficient behavioral health services. His research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.

Byron Garcia, M.S.

Garcia's research is focused on understanding the developmental progression of problem behavior and substance use in minority youth and adolescents. 

Featured in: ASU center launches group program to help with stress

María Wilson, B.A.

Maria is a first year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D., program at Arizona State University. She received her B.A in Psychology from Florida International University (FIU). Prior to attending ASU, she completed a four year Post-Baccalaureate Research Coordinator position at the Center for Children and Families at FIU. Maria is interested in bridging the gap between science and practice, through dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices into communities. Particularly, she aims to identify and understand the barriers to treatment for underserved and ethnic/minority youth and their families, with an emphasis on Latino families. Currently, she is interested in examining the risk and mitigating factors on the development and maintenance of internalizing problems in Latino youth. In her spare time, Maria enjoys painting, being in nature, and spending time with friends and loved ones.

Cruz, R. A., Navarro, C., Carrera, K., Lara, J., Mechammil, M., & Robins, R. W. (2021). Mexican-Origin Youths' Trajectories of Internalizing Symptoms from Childhood into Adolescence and Associations with Acculturation Processes. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 50(1), 118-130.

Cruz, R. A., Mechammil, M., & Robins, R. W. (2019). Familism, sibling relationship qualities, and sibling sex constellation as predictors of alcohol use among Mexican-origin adolescents. Journal of Family Psychology, 33(7), 868-875.

Cruz, R. A., King, K. M., Mechammil, M., Bámaca-Colbert, M., & Robins, R. W. (2018). Mexican-origin youth substance use trajectories: Associations with cultural and family factors. Developmental Psychology, 54(1), 111–126.