H. Harrington (Bo) Cleveland 

photo of H. Cleveland

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

310B Health & Human Development East
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16803


(fax) 814-863-7963




Research Interests

My primary research interests center around the causes and consequences of substance use in adolescence and young adulthood. In the first decade of my career, I primarily used twin designs to investigate how family and peer environments that encourage substance use and aggression were affected by and interacted with genetic influences. Past projects in this area include those that examined the causal validity of the Gateway Drug Hypothesis and investigated whether exposure to parental drinking behaviors affected the heritability of adolescent alcohol use.

My current work pursues this same line of research with data that combine survey information and candidate genes. Like my previous work, this 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 in this area is the genetic extension of the PROSPER project. This research project, referred to as gPROSPER, leverages the randomized prevention design and longitudinal data of the PROSPER project to examine whether 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.

My research on the consequences of substance use takes place in a substance abuse rehabilitation facility in central Pennsylvania. This work, which is done in collaboration with faculty from 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.

In addition to the above projects, I am collaborating with faculty through the Penn State Gene-Environment Research Initiative to establish a Pennsylvania Twin Registry of young children and adolescents. This project will focus 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., & Wiebe, R. (In Press). Understanding the Progression from Adolescent Marijuana Use to Young Adult Serious Drug Use: Gateway Effect or Developmental Trajectory? Development and Psychopathology.

Fischer, J. L, Fitzpatrick, J., & Cleveland, H. H. (In Press). Multiple Pathway Models Linking Family Functioning to Dating Relationship Quality via Personality and Behavior. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Cleveland, H. H., Harris, K. S., Baker, A., Herbert, R., & Dean, L. R. (In Press). Characteristics of a Collegiate Recovery Community: Safe Haven in an Abstinence Hostile Collegiate Environment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Caldwell, R., Wiebe, R., & Cleveland, H. H. (2006). The Influence of Future Certainty and Contextual Factors on Delinquent Behavior and School Adjustment among African American Adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 35, 587-598.

Vazsonyi, A., Cleveland, H. H., & Wiebe, R. (2006). Contextual Effects on the Relationships between Risk Factors and Risk Behaviors. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 33, 511-541.

Cleveland, H. H., Wiebe, R., & Rowe, D. C. (2005). Genetic Influences on Associations with Substance Using Peers. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 166, 153-169.

Fischer, J., Fitzpatrick, J., & Cleveland, H. H (2005). Binge Drinking in the Context of Dating Relationships. Addictive Behaviors, 30, 1486-1516.

Cleveland, H. H., & Gilson, M. (2004). The Increased Importance of Mother-child Relationships on Sexual Behaviors of Adolescents in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 319-329.

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.

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Domains of Health and Behavior