Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Karen Trocki, PhD


Karen Trocki, PhD, is a scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group. Trocki studies AIDS and sexually transmitted disease-related risk behaviors as well as alcohol/drug use and sexual behaviors among adolescents and young adults through several studies funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention. She is interested in the interaction of psychobiological and environmental factors in relation to alcohol/drug use and other risk behaviors.

Trocki has served on the governing council of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and was program chair for APHA's Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Section. She was also chair of the science council of the Medical Research Institutes of San Francisco and the education committee of the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Trocki served for two years with the Peace Corps in Tunisia. She received her MS and doctorate in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Effect of Marriage Recognition and Substance Abuse and Health for Women

This study will used a mixed methods design to develop and test novel measures for assessing factors that underlie the impact of marriage recognition on sexual minority women (SMW, including lesbian, bisexual and other women who do not identify as exclusively heterosexual). ARG will merge data from the new measures with previously collected data, from a large sample of sexual minority women which include rich demographic, risk and resiliency data from participants. Merged data will be used to examine associations between marriage recognition and hazardous drinking, depression, and poor general health, with specific focus on racial/ethnic differences.

Sexual Orientation and Correlates of Alcohol Problems

This project furthers understanding of the increased risk for hazardous alcohol use, alcohol-related problems and drug use among sexual minorities, which is especially pronounced among women. Understanding factors that increase or buffer risk for hazardous drinking among sexual minorities (and non-minorities) will inform culturally and gender-appropriate prevention and intervention strategies.

Sexual Orientation Differences: Prevalence and Correlates of Substance Use and Abuse

The study addresses gaps identified in two recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports related to sexual minority health. It will provide a more nuanced understanding of factors that mediate and moderate substantially higher rates of hazardous drinking and substance use among sexual minority women. This is critical to the development of culturally appropriate prevention and treatment interventions.