Contact Information

Professor and Chair
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Department of Public Health Sciences

Clinical Research Building, 6th Floor
1120 NW 14th Street
Miami, FL 33136
United States of America

Office (305) 243-8331

Membership Information

Membership Category:
Research Scientists

Member Since: 2000


José Szapocznik, Ph.D.

José Szapocznik, Ph.D.


Ph.D. University of Miami
M.S. University of Miami
B.S. University of Miami

Research Statement

For over three decades, my primary research focus has been the role of context (culture, family) on adolescent problem behavior, and the development and testing of family-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of drug abusing and problem behavior Hispanic adolescents. My colleagues and I at the Center for Family Studies have conducted theoretical and empirical work testing some of the basic assumptions of family therapy, developing an evidence-based intervention Brief Strategic Family Therapy™ and a number of culturally-specific variations of this approach, extending strategic structural family therapy techniques to overcoming the problem of engaging hard-to-reach families, and investigating the underlying mechanisms of action in Brief Strategic Family Therapy™. As PI of the NIDA-funded Florida Node Alliance of NIDA’s National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network, we are translating treatment research into clinical practice throughout the State of Florida, and in sites in Colorado, North Carolina and Puerto Rico. This partnership between 13 university-based centers and more than 250 community-based substance abuse treatment and health care provider settings is implementing drug abuse treatment effectiveness research in the front lines of practice. We have had the opportunity to use the network to launch several national multi-site trials of our own design. One of these is a comparison of Brief Strategic Family Therapy™ to agencies’ treatment as usual. A second is the first multi-site study of a drug abuse treatment, Motivation Enhancement Therapy, in Spanish-language monolinguals in the US. Our Center has an emphasis in adolescents, HIV and racial/ethnic minorities. In a third area of interest, I have developed a highly interdisciplinary program of research on the relationship between the built environment, behavior, psychological functioning, biomedical mediators and physical health outcomes. This work has focused on aspects of the built environment that affect school age Hispanic children’s behavioral adjustment, the psychological and physical adjustment of Hispanic elders, and most recently, the risks to weight gain inherent in immigration. The latter includes studies of the impact of the walkability of neighborhoods on physical activity, weight gain, inflammation and progress in metabolic syndrome indicators.

View Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Brown, S. C., Pantin, H., Lombard, J., Toro, M., Huang, S., Plater-Zyberk, E., Perrino, T., Perez-Gomez, G., Barrera-Allen, L., & Szapocznik, J. (2013). Walk Score™: Associations with purposive walking in recent Cuban immigrants. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 45(2), 202-206.

Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Des Rosiers, S. E., Lorenzo-Blanco, E. I., Zamboanga, B. L., Huang, S., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Villamar, J. A., Soto, D. W., Pattarroyo, M., & Szapocznik, J. (2013). Domains of acculturation and their effects on substance use and sexual behavior in Hispanic recent immigrant adolescents. Prevention Science, July. [Epub 2013 Jul 5].

Schwartz, S.J., Des Rosiers, S., Huang, S., Zamboanga, B.L., Unger, J.B., Knight, G.P., Pantin, H., & Szapocznik, J. (2013). Developmental trajectories of acculturation in Hispanic adolescents: Associations with family functioning and adolescent risk behavior. Child Development, Jul-Aug (84)4, 1355-72. [Epub 2013 Jan 17].

Szapocznik, J., Zarate, M., Duff, J., & Muir, J. (2013). Brief strategic family therapy: engaging drug using/problem behavior adolescents and their families in treatment. Social Work in Public Health, 28(3-4), 206-23.

Schwartz, S.J., Unger, J.B., Des Rosiers, S.E., Huang, S., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Lorenzo-Blanco, E.I., Villamar, J.A., Soto, D.W., Pattarroyo, M. & Szapocznik, J. (2012). Substance use and sexual behavior among recent Hispanic immigrant adolescents: Effects of parent–adolescent differential acculturation and communication. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 125S, S26-34.

Szapocznik, J., Schwartz, S.J., Muir, J.A., & Brown, C.H., (2012). Brief Strategic Therapy: An Intervention to Reduce Adolescent Risk Behavior. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 1(2), 134-145.