Jungeun Olivia Lee

Assistant Professor

Jungeun Olivia Lee focuses on a relationship among SES, adverse childhood experiences, substance use, and its comorbid mental health.

Media Contact
Jungeun Olivia Lee
Email:  lee363@usc.edu
Phone:  +1 213.740.7822
Rank:  Tenure Track Faculty
Department:  Children, Youth and Families

Jungeun Olivia Lee

Assistant Professor

Jungeun Olivia Lee focuses on a relationship among SES, adverse childhood experiences, substance use, and its comorbid mental health.

Media Contact


Jungeun Olivia Lee joined the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in 2014. Prior to her appointment at USC, she was a research scientist at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work and Social Development Research Group after receiving her doctoral degree in 2009. Dr. Lee seeks to disentangle a complex relationship among socioeconomic status, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and behavior health, particularly substance use and its comorbid mental health, during the life course and across generations. Conceptually anchored in the life course perspective, Dr. Lee’s research focuses on (a) the impacts of socioeconomic status, both at individual- and neighborhood levels, on problematic substance use and their underlying mechanisms; (b) associated gender differences; and (c) the intergenerational impacts of parental substance use, socioeconomic status, and ACEs on children. She has contributed to multiple grants as an investigator. She is currently principal investigator for a grant funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study seeks to identify developmental timing and dynamic changes in maternal substance use and socioeconomic status among low-income young mothers, link them to child developmental outcomes, and then link those back to maternal exposure to ACEs. She is also the lead investigator at the USC site of a multi-campus consortium that seeks to understand ACEs, intimate partner violence, and substance use. She is a member of the Society for Social Work and Research and the Society for Prevention Research. Lee is interested in quantitative methodology for longitudinal data and has expertise in four general areas of advanced statistics, including mixture modeling (often referred to as the “person-centered approach”), structural equation modeling, categorical data analysis and techniques for handling missing data. To reference the work of Jungeun Olivia Lee online, we ask that you directly quote their work where possible and attribute it to "Jungeun Olivia Lee, a faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work” (LINK: https://dworakpeck.usc.edu)


University of Washington

PhD 2009

University of Wisconsin-Madison

MSW 2003

Seoul National University

MA 2000

Catholic University of Korea

BA 1997

Area of Expertise

  • SES
  • Childhood Adversity
  • Life Course Human Development
  • Substance use

Industry Experience

  • Social Services
  • Education/Learning
  • Research

Research Interest

  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse


Graduate School Social Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, University of Washington, Seattle
NIH/OBSSR Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Honors Early Stage Investigator Paper Award
Early Career Preventionist Network Travel Scholarship
Society for Prevention Research

Articles & Publications

Unemployment And Substance Use Problems Among Young Adults: Does Childhood Low Socioeconomic Status Exacerbate The Effect? | Social Science & Medicine, 143, 36–44

Lee, J. O., Hill, K. G., Hartigan, L.* A., Boden, J. M., Guttmannova, K., Kosterman, R., Bailey, J., & Catalano, R. F.
The current study tested whether unemployment predicted young adults' heavy episodic drinking, cigarette smoking, and cannabis use after taking into account individual development in substance use. Furthermore, building on the life course perspective, this study examined whether the link between unemployment and substance use among young adults differed for those who experienced low childhood SES compared to those who did not. Data for the present study came from the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP), a panel study examining a broad range of developmental outcomes from ages 10 to 33. * student collaborators


Developmental pathways from parental socioeconomic status to adolescent substance use: Alternative and complementary reinforcement | Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47(2), 334-348

Lee, J.O., Cho, J., Yoon*, Y., Bello*, M.S., Khoddam, R., Leventhal, A.M.
Although lower socioeconomic status has been linked to increased youth substance use, much less research has determined potential mechanisms explaining the association. The current longitudinal study tested whether alternative (i.e., pleasure gained from activities without any concurrent use of substances) and complementary (i.e., pleasure gained from activities in tandem with substance use) reinforcement mediate the link between lower socioeconomic status and youth substance use. Further, we tested whether alternative and complementary reinforcement and youth substance use gradually unfold over time and then intersect with one another in a cascading manner. Potential sex differences are also examined. * student collaborators


Assessing variations in developmental outcomes among teenage offspring of teenage mothers: Maternal life course correlates | Journal of Research on Adolescence. 27(3), 550-565

Lee, J.O., Gilchrist, L., Beadnell, B., Lohr, M.J., Yuan, C.,* Hartigan, L.*, & Morrison, D.
This study investigated potential heterogeneity in development among offspring (age 17) of teen mothers and maternal life course as correlates of variation. Using latent class analysis, subgroups of developmental outcomes were identified. Maternal standing in two life course realms (i.e., socioeconomic and domestic) was considered as a potential explanation for heterogeneity in offspring’s development. * student collaborators