H. Harrington (Bo) Cleveland 

photo of H. Cleveland

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

234 Health & Human Development Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16803


(fax) 814-863-7963




Research Interests

My research interests center around trying to understand how individuals’ characteristics affect how they are impacted by experiences, such as how genetics can change the impact of peers on behaviors, and how these characteristics affect the ways in which adolescents and young adults negotiate challenging experiences, such as addiction and homelessness.

How Genes and Experiences Work Together to Contribute to Risk and Resilience

My research is based upon the belief that environments do not have the same, or even similar, effects on all individuals—and that reasons for this heterogeneity of environmental effects include genetics. My primary research project in this area is the genetic extension of the PROSPER project. This research project, referred to as gPROSPER, examines whether and how the impacts of substance use interventions and family and peer experiences vary across adolescents based on their genetics. For example, do dopamine-related genes change the impact of interventions on adolescent substance use trajectories.

How Homeless Adolescents Build Resilient Lives

I am increasingly involved in researching the experiences of homeless adolescents and the impact of their daily stress on their lives. Our research group just finished up a smartphone data collection of adolescents who have been kicked out of their homes and are “doubled-up” with others. These data are being used to document the positive and negative social experiences encountered by these homeless youth and investigate the strategies they use to overcome the challenges that define their daily lives.

Daily Lives of Addicts in Recovery

My emerging research on youth homelessness has grown out of a decade’s worth of work on daily lives of young adult addicts in 12 step recovery and an ongoing project on patients in substance abuse treatment. This work, done in collaboration with the Penn State Hershey Medical School, uses smart phones to collect momentary data on mood and cravings experienced by opiate addicts. The within and between day patterns of mood and cravings will then be used to predict post-treatment recovery outcomes, such as relapse.

Other Projects

In addition to the above, I am collaborating with faculty through the Penn State Gene-Environment Research Initiative to build the Pennsylvania Twin Registry of young children and adolescents. This project focuses on how genes and environments work together to affect child-parent interactions, school readiness, and healthy daily behaviors.


B.A., 1988, Political Science, St. Mary's College of Maryland
J.D., 1991, Boston College Law School
Ph.D., 1998, Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona


Barnie E. Rushing Outstanding Researcher Award for the College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University. 2007.

Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Research Award Nominee for the College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University. 2006. 

Professional Experience

2007- Present, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University

2003-2007, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University

2000-2003, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

1998-2000, Post-Doc, NICHD, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Selected Publications

Cleveland, H. H., Schlomer, G. L., Vandenbergh, D. J., Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M., Spoth, R., Redmond. C., Shriver, M.D., Zaidi, A.A., & Hair, K.L. (In Press). The Conditioning of Intervention Effects on Early Adolescent Alcohol Use by Maternal Involvement and DRD4 and 5-HTTLPR Candidate Genes. Development and Psychopathology.

Schlomer, G., Fosco, G, Cleveland, H. H., Vandenbergh, D, J. & Feinberg, M. (In Press). Interparental Relationship Sensitivity Leads to Adolescent Internalizing Problems: Different Genotypes, Different Pathways. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Cleveland, H. H. & Almeida, D. M. (2013). Drinking across emotionally easy and difficult days: A behavioral genetic investigation of the distinctness of drinking to cope. Substance Use and Misuse, Vol. 48, No. 5: 359–370.

Zheng, Y. & Cleveland, H.H. (2013). Identifying and understanding patterns of nonviolent delinquency and violence from adolescence to young adulthood using latent class analysis. Journal of Adolescence, 36, 371-381.

Cleveland, H. H., & Harris, K. S. (2010). The Role of Coping in Moderating within-day Associations between Negative Triggers and Substance Use Cravings: A Daily Diary Investigation. Addictive Behaviors, 35, 60-63.

Cleveland, H. H., & Wiebe, R. (2008). Understanding the Progression from Adolescent
Marijuana Use to Young Adult Serious Drug Use: Gateway Effect or Developmental Trajectory? Development and Psychopathology, 20, 615-632.

Cleveland, H. H., Wiebe, R., & Rowe, D. C. (2005). Genetic Influences on Associations with Substance Using Peers. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 166, 153-169. Reprinted in Biosocial Theories of Crime (2010). K. M. Beaver & A. Walsh (Eds.). Ashgate, U.K.

Cleveland, H. H., & Crosnoe, R. (2004). Individual Variation and Family-Community Ties: A Behavioral Genetic Analysis of the Intergenerational Closure in the Lives of Adolescent Boys and Girls. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19, 174-191.

Cleveland, H. H., & Wiebe, R. (2003). The Moderation of Adolescent to Peer Similarity in Tobacco and Alcohol use. Child Development, 74, 279-291.

Cleveland, H. H., & Wiebe, R. (2003). The Moderation of Genetic and Shared Environmental Influences on Adolescent Drinking by Levels of Parental Drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64, 182-194.

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Domains of Health and Behavior