W. Alex Mason, Ph.D.

Cross Appointment
Senior Director, Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center

 walter.mason@boystown.org    531.355.1269    Vita

Alex Mason

Get to know Dr. Mason


I am a prevention scientist with interests in the developmental etiology as well as family- and school-based prevention of adolescent substance misuse and co-occurring externalizing/internalizing problems. I also conduct work in implementation science, seeking innovative ways to scale evidence-based preventive interventions and bridge the science-to-practice gap for public health benefit. My interests further include longitudinal and intervention methods.


  • Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Nevada at Reno
  • M.A., General Psychology, University of Northern Colorado
  • B.S., Psychology/Sociology, Southwest Baptist University

Publications and Other Scholarly Activities

Mason, W.A., Cogua-Lopez, J., & Thompson, R.W. (in press). Turning a big ship: Applying unleashing the power of prevention to treatment settings. An invited commentary. Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research.

Mason, W.A., Cogua-Lopez, J., Fleming, C.B., & Scheier, L.M. (2018). Challenges Facing Evidence-Based Prevention: Incorporating an Abductive Theory of Method. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 41, 155-182.

Mason, W.A., Russo, M.J., Chmelka, M.B., Herrenkohl, R.C., & Herrenkohl, T.I. (2017). Parent and peer pathways linking childhood experiences of abuse with marijuana use in adolescence and adulthood. Addictive Behaviors, 66, 70-75.

Savolainen, J., Mason, W.A., Lyyra, A.-L., Pulkkinen, L., & Kokko, K. (2017). Antisocial and human capital pathways to socioeconomic exclusion: 42-Year prospective study. Developmental Psychology, 53, 1597-1609.

Mason, W.A., Fleming, C.B., Gross, T.J., Thompson, R.W., Parra, G.R., & Snyder, J.J. (2016). Randomized trial of parent training to prevent adolescent problem behaviors during the high school transition. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(8), 944-954.

Mason, W.A., January, S-A.A., Chmelka, M.B., Parra, G.R., Savolainen, J., Miettunen, J., Järvelin, M-R., Taanila, A., & Moilanen, I. (2016). Cumulative contextual risk at birth in relation to adolescent substance use, conduct problems, and risky sex: General and specific predictive associations in a Finnish birth cohort. Addictive Behaviors, 58, 161-166.


  • Senior Director, Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center.
  • Consistent funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Education Sciences.
  • Regular grant review member for the National Institutes of Health and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
  • Society for Prevention Research (SPR), Board of Directors Member.
  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Loan Repayment Participant.



“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.



My wife and I are moving into a new phase of parenting as our two children, Kaitlin and Conner, become independent young adults. It is a joy to see them develop into talented, motivated individuals who are pursuing their unique interests in school and beyond. Rounding out the household are two adorable Pembroke Welsh Corgis and one very spoiled cat.



“In God we trust, all others must bring data.”
– W. Edwards Deming

× Get Support

Questions or comments?

Contact the Help Desk for info regarding the College or assistance with this website.