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Thomas A. Wills, PhD

Thomas A. Wills, PhD
  • Program Co-Leader
    Population Sciences in the Pacific Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Full Member
    Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Prevention in the Pacific)
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Professor
    Cancer Epidemiology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center


  • PhD, Social Psychology
    University of Oregon

Research Focus

Dr. Wills' research interests are in etiology and prevention studies of tobacco and alcohol use, with a focus on early adolescence. This research involves the application of theoretical models that include individual vulnerability characteristics, social processes, and environmental variables, and their interactions, to the onset of smoking and drinking. This research has investigated ethnic differences in smoking and alcohol use prevalence and in pathways to substance-use outcomes. This work involves using advanced analytic techniques such as confirmatory analysis and multiple-group analyses to study ethnic group differences. Within the research program of the Center, Dr. Wills will help use these analytic and conceptual tools to better understand the onset and escalation of smoking and alcohol use as a function of individual and environmental variables and to help delineate how these processes differ across gender and ethnic groups.

Selected Publications

  • Wills TA, Ainette MG. Temperament, self-control, and adolescent substance use: A two-factor model of etiological processes. In: Handbook of Drug Use Etiology, Scheier LM, ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2009.
  • Simons JS, Carey KB, Wills TA. Alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms: A multidimensional model of common and specific etiology. Psychol Addict Behav 23:415-27, 2009.
  • Wills TA, Gibbons FX, Sargent JD, Gerrard M, Lee HR, Dal Cin S. Good self-control moderates the effect of mass media on adolescent tobacco and alcohol use: Tests with two studies of children and adolescents. Health Psychol 29:539-49, 2010.
  • Wills TA, Pokhrel P, Morehouse E, Fenster B. Behavioral and emotional regulation and adolescent substance use problems: A test of moderation effects in a dual-process model. Psychol Addict Behav 25:279-92, 2011.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • T.A. Wills, Principal Investigator
    NCI R01 CA153154
    "Self-Control as a Moderator for Effects of Mass Media on Adolescent Substance Use"
  • T.A. Wills, Principal Investigator
    NIDA 7R01 DA021856-03
    "The Project Success Model: Evaluation of a Tiered Intervention"

  • T.A. Wills, Co-Investigator (J. Sargent, Principal Investigator)
    NCI 2 R01 CA077026
    "Visual Media Influences on Adolescent Smoking Behavior (Y10-14 Renewal)"