Dr. Risco is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland—College Park jointly appointed with the First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) program in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and the Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research (CAPER) in the Department of Psychology. FIRE provides a multi-semester research and mentorship experience to first-year students through faculty-led research projects. Dr. Risco operates the FIRE Stream in Addiction Science which immerses students in a hands-on learning experience driven by the research agendas and grant commitments of CAPER faculty. She received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Maryland-College Park in August of 2011. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2004 at the University of Florida where she received a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in sociology.

Dr. Risco’s research has focused on the mental health and well-being as well as educational/vocational development of Latina/o communities. In her current position at CAPER, she extends her program of research to address health disparities experienced among African Americans by identifying socio-cultural contributors (e.g., racial identity formation, perceptions of discrimination) to the emergence of substance abuse and other health-related risk behavior. In 2012, Dr. Risco was awarded a National Institute on Drug Abuse Diversity Supplement to expand the focus of a large-scale ten-year longitudinal study (PI: Carl Lejuez, Co-I: Laura MacPherson, R01-DA018647-08) to include an examination of key socio-cultural processes that contribute toward the development of HIV-risk behavior among African American adolescents and young adults. At present, she is developing a line of applied experimental research that examines the impact of racial discrimination on risk-taking using a behavioral assessment of risk-taking propensity (PI: Risco, R03 DA035878-01). Dr. Risco is also pursuing research to inform the development, evaluation, and implementation of a behavioral intervention targeting health-related risk behavior and co-occurring psychological conditions with under-served populations.


Selected Publications

Risco,C. M., Collado, A. D., Reynolds, E. K., Lejuez, C. W., & MacPherson, L. (2016). Evaluation of the Environmental Supports Scale with a community sample of adolescents. Prevention Science, 17, 493-502. doi: 10.1007/s11121-016-0637-4

Collado, A., Risco, C. M., Banducci, A. N., Chen, K. W., MacPherson, L., & Lejuez, C. W. (2015). Racial differences in risk-taking propensity on the Youth Version of the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART-Y). The Journal of Early Adolescence. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0272431615596429

 Risco, C. M., & Duffy, R. D. (2011). A career decision-making profile of Latina/o incoming college students. Journal of Career Development, 38, 237-255.doi: 10.1177/0894845310365852

Moradi, B., & Risco, C. (2006). Perceived discrimination experiences and mental health of Latina/o American persons. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 411-421. doi: 10.1037/0022-0169.53.4.411


Selected Grants

Racial Discrimination and Risk Behavior among African American Young Adults

  • Role: Principal Investigator; Carl W. Lejuez (Co-I), Derek Iwamoto (Co-I)
  • Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Type and Number: R03 DA035878-01
  • Period: 6/1/2014 - 4/30/2017

Socio-cultural Determinants of Health-related Risk Behavior
NIHLoan Repayment Program Award

  • Role: Principal Investigator; Carl W. Lejuez and Laura MacPherson (Research Mentors)
  • Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Period: 8/1/2014 - 8/31/2017

Behavioral Technologies for Predicting HIV Risk
Diversity Supplement under R01-DA018647-08

  • Role: Principal Investigator on Supplement; Carl W. Lejuez (PI on Parent Grant)
  • Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Type and Number: R01-DA018647-08-S1
  • Period: 5/1/2012 - 4/30/2017

Examining Minority Stress and Mental Health
RPG Underrepresented Minority Research Supplement under R03-MH06825501

  • Role: Supplement Awardee; Bonnie Moradi (PI on Parent Grant)
  • Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
  • Period: 8/31/2004 - 9/1/2005


Courses Taught

·         First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE 120)

·         First-Year Innovation & Research Experience: Addiction Science (FIRE 157, FIRE 257)

·         The Assessment and Treatment of Addictive Behaviors (PSYC 437)

·         Counseling Psychology: Theories, Research, and Practice(PSYC 432)

·         Psychology of Human Sexuality (PSYC 332)

·         Basic Helping Skills: Research and Practice(PSYC 433: lab instructor)

·         Career Development Theory and Programs (EDCP 611)



  • PhD
    Counseling Psychology
  • MA
    Counseling Psychology
  • BS
  • BA
Cristina Risco
2103 Cole Student Activities Building
Department of Psychology
crisco1 [at] umd.edu