Tamika C.B. Zapolski Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychology


2013 Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Kentucky

2013 Clinical Internship, University of Kentucky Medical Center

2008 M.S. Clinical Psychology, University of Kentucky

2005 B.A. Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia

Awards & Honors

National Institute on Minority Health Disparities (NIMHD) Translational Health Disparities Course Scholar  

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) National Diversity Scholars Network Professional Development Fellow

Psychology Summer Institute (PSI) Fellowship funded by SAMHSA

Professional Affiliations

Research Society on Alcoholism

Society for Prevention Research 

Teaching Assignments

B-203 Ethics and Diversity

I-670 Ethics and Divesity

I-667 Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Current Research

Dr. Zapolski's program of research focuses on risk for substance use and other health behaviors among African Americans. Much of her previous work has focused on alcohol use, as important race differences have been observed. Specifically, research has shown that comparative to European Americans, African Americans tend to (a) report lower rates of alcohol used based on both age and gender, (b) report later initiation of drinking, and (c) report higher rates of abstinence. Yet, paradoxically, African Americans appear to experience more problems from use compared to European Americans. Given limited integrative literature on understanding African American risk for alcohol use and related problems, Dr. Zapolski developed a theoretical model for African American alcohol use that was recently published in Psychological Bulletin. Dr. Zapolski is currently expanding on her research by using an ecological framework to better understanding risk for alcohol and marijuana use among African American youth. Specifically, she plans to examine the interactive effect of cultural variables (e.g., discrimination, racial socialization, racial identity) on biological, individual level (e.g., personality, expectancies, perceptions of risk), interpersonal (e.g., parental/peer support, parent/peer substance use, drug use beliefs), and environmental (e.g., access to drugs, school support, neighborhood disorganization) factors to better understand drug choice, course of use and consequences among African American youth. Students in Dr. Zapolski's lab are also examining risk for other health behaviors, such as risky sexual behavior and illicit drug use among both youth and college populations. 

Dr. Zapolski is currently accepting new students for enrollment in Fall 2016.

Select Publications

*Birkley, E.L., Zapolski, T.C.B., & Smith, G.T. (in press). Race differences in the prospective relationship between depression and alcohol use from elementary school to middle school. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Zapolski, T. C. B., Pedersen, S. L., McCarthy, D. M., & Smith, G. T. (2014). Less drinking, yet more problems: Understanding African American drinking and related problems. Psychological Bulletin,140(1), 188-223. doi:10.1037/a0032113

Zapolski, T.C.B., & Smith, G.T. (2013). Comparison of parent versus child-report of child impulsivity traits and prediction of outcome variables. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35 (3), 301-313. doi:10.1007/s10862-013-9349-2

Smith, G.T., Guller, L., & Zapolski, T.C.B. (2013). A comparison of two models of urgency: Urgency predicts both rash action and depression in youth. Clinical Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/2167702612470647

Zapolski, T.C.B., Guller, L., & Smith, G.T. (2012). Construct validation theory applied to the study of personality dysfunction. Journal of Personality. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00772.x.

Zapolski, T.C.B., Stairs, A.M., Fried, R.E., Combs, J.L., & Smith, G.T. (2010). The measurement of dispositions to rash action in children, Assessment, 17, 116-125. doi: 10.1177/1073191109351372