Bo Cleveland’s career is devoted to understanding differences in the impact of environments on peoples’ experiences and behaviors. An underlying assumption of his work is that experiences, such as those within families and friendships, act together with individuals’ characteristics to shape developmental outcomes, such as substance use and abuse as well as the impact of these behaviors on people’s lives. He focuses on two key areas. First, he works on gene environment interactions impacting initiation and escalation of substance use among adolescents. 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.  Second, I focus on understanding within-person processes that underlie relapse and recovery from substance abuse. My projects in this area began with research on daily processes of social support among individuals in stable recovery and continue with work using smart phones to collect momentary data on mood and cravings experienced by opiate addicts in treatment. Going forward my goal is to leverage the methodological resources at Penn State to inform and hopefully build interventions to help addicted individuals build and sustain recovery.

Research Interests

Developmental Gene x Environment Interaction Research; Applying intensive Longitudial Designs to at-risk Populations


  • 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