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Sunny H. Shin, Ph.D.

Associate professor

Email: sshin@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 827-4342

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S.W., University of Wisconsin at Madison
B.A., Soongsil University

Sunny Shin is an associate professor in the VCU School of Social Work and the VCU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies at VCU. Prior to joining VCU in 2013, Shin was a faculty member at the Boston University School of Social Work and is currently a faculty affiliate at the Boston University Center for Addictions Research and Services.

Having a broad practice and research experience in childhood traumatic experiences and addiction, Shin’s research has tested theoretical models and theory-driven preventive interventions that include individual vulnerability characteristics, social processes and environmental variables as well as the interactions between these. In particular, Shin’s research team has focused on developing and testing theoretical models that explain the developmental mechanisms that link childhood traumatic experiences to adolescent substance abuse. His team has also designed and evaluated several innovative drug preventive interventions for adolescent populations. Shin’s research has been funded by National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and ABMRF/Foundation for Alcohol Research.

His work has been published in leading academic journals including the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Preventive Medicine, and Psychiatric Services. Shin has received various awards including the Society for Social Work and Research Excellence in Research Award, National Institute of Mental Health Children’s Health Intervention Prevention Service Fellowship Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Fellowship Award, and the Daniel S. Sanders Fellowship, University of Illinois.

VCU appointments

Associate professor, School of Social Work

Associate professor, Department of Psychiatry

Notable awards, honors and appointments

  • Society for Social Work and Research Excellence in Research Award (2015)

  • National Institute of Health Summer Institute on Social and Behavioral Intervention Research (2012)

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Fellowship (2007-2009)

  • National Institute of Mental Health Children Health Intervention Prevention Service Fellowship (2005-2006)

  • Korean-American Research Scholarship (2001)

  • Ethics in Research Scholarship, University of South Florida (2000)

  • Daniel S. Sanders Award, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1999)

Recent and current funded projects

Principal investigator
Preventing tobacco use among youth exposed to adverse childhood experiences
Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

Co-Investigator. The Impact of Human-Animal Interactions on Adjustment of Children in Adverse Family Environments. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; Pending)

Principal investigator
Longitudinal Infant and Family Environment (L.I.F.E.) Study
Virginia Department of Social Services

Principal investigator
Adverse childhood experiences and adolescent tobacco use during the transition to adulthood
Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

Principal investigator (with Khalsa, Sat Bir)
Reducing substance use risk factors in the high school setting
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Principal investigator
Childhood maltreatment, self-regulation, and alcohol use in emerging adulthood
ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research

Principal investigator
Childhood interpersonal trauma and substance abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Principal investigator
Disentangling the complex association between child abuse/neglect and adolescent hazardous drinking
The Silberman Fund Faculty Grant Program

Principal investigator
Explaining racial and ethnic disparities in access to mental health services by children involved with child welfare
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Principal investigator (Center PI: Rosenbloom)
Childhood maltreatment and youth alcohol problems pilot study
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Youth Alcohol Prevention Center Grant

Principal investigator
Evaluation of drug-free communities support programs at town of brookline
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration                 

Co-investigator (PI: Collins)
National evaluation of child welfare training grants
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

Co-investigator (PI: Collins)
Professional education for current public child welfare agency staff
U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Administration for Children and Families

Principal investigator
Students Teaching Effective Prevention (STEP)
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Selected publications

Ksinan Jiskrova, G., Conley, D., & Shin, S. H. (2018). Sleep-related infant deaths and safe sleep practices: The Longitudinal Infant and Family Environment (LIFE) Study (Research brief). Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Social Work

Shin, S. H., Ksinan Jiskrova, G. & Wills, T. (In press).  Childhood maltreatment and alcohol use in young adulthood: The role of self-regulation processes. Addictive Behaviors.

Shin, S. H., McDonald, S. E., & Conley, D. (In press). Profiles of adverse childhood experiences and impulsivity. Child Abuse & Neglect.

Shin, S. H., McDonald, S. E., & Conley, D. (2018). Patterns of adverse childhood experiences and substance use among young adults: A latent class analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 78, 187-192.

McDonald, S. E., Dmitrieva, J., Shin, S., Hitti, S. A., Graham-Bermann, S. A., Ascione, F. R., & Williams, J. H. (2017). The role of callous/unemotional traits in mediating the association between animal abuse exposure and behavior problems among children exposed to intimate partner violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 72, 421-432.

Butzer, B., LoRusso, A., Shin, S.H., & Khalsa, S.S. (2017). Evaluation of yoga for preventing adolescent substance use risk factors in a middle school setting: A preliminary group-randomized controlled trial. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46:603-632.

Shin, S.H., Chung, E., & Rosenberg, R. (2016). Identifying sensitive periods for alcohol use: The roles of timing and chronicity of child physical abuse. Alcoholism:     Clinical and Experimental Research, 40(5), 1020-1029

McDonald, S.E., Shin, S.H., Corona, R., Maternick, A., Graham-Bermann, S. Ascione, F.R., & Williams, J.H. (2016). Children exposed to intimate partner violence: Identifying differential effects of family environment on children’s trauma and psychopathology symptoms through regression mixture models. Child Abuse & Neglect, 58, 1-11.

Shin, S.H., Cook, A., Morris, N., McDougle, R., & Groves, L.P. (2016). The different faces of impulsivity as links between childhood maltreatment and young adult crime. Preventive Medicine, 88, 210-217.

Shin, S.H., Hassamal, S. & Groves, L. (2015). Examining the role of psychological distress in linking childhood maltreatment and alcohol use in young adulthood. American Journal on Addiction, 24, 628-636.

Shin, S.H., Lee, S., Jeon, S., & Wills, T. (2015). Childhood emotional abuse, negative emotion-driven impulsivity, and alcohol use in young adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 50, 94-103.

Shin, S.H., Miller, D.P., & Teicher, M.H. (2013). Exposure to childhood neglect and physical abuse and developmental trajectories of heavy episodic drinking from early adolescence into young adulthood. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 127(1-3), 31-8.

Shin, S.H., Chung, Y., & Jeon, S. (2013). Impulsivity and substance use in young adulthood. American Journal on Addiction, 22(1), 39-45.

Shin, S.H. (2012). A longitudinal examination of the relationships between childhood maltreatment and patterns of adolescent substance use. American Journal on Addiction, 21(5), 453-461.

Shin, S.H., Hong, G., & Wills, T. (2012). An examination of pathways from childhood maltreatment to adolescent binge drinking. American Journal on Addiction, 21(3), 1-8.

Shin, S.H., Hong, G., & Jeon, S. (2012). Personality and alcohol use: The role of impulsivity. Addictive Behaviors, 37(1), 102-107.

Shin, S.H., & Miller, D.P. (2012). A longitudinal examination of childhood maltreatment and adolescent obesity: Results from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth). Child Abuse & Neglect, 36(2), 84-94.

Shin, S.H., & Lee, S. (2011). Caregiver social support for children involved with child welfare: Correlates and racial/ethnic variations. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 5(4), 1-20.

Shin, S.H., Hong, H.G., & Hazen, A. (2010). Childhood sexual abuse and adolescent substance use: A latent class analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 109, 226-235.

Shin, S.H., Edwards, E., Heeren, T., & Amodeo, M. (2009). Relationship between multiple forms of maltreatment by a parent or guardian and adolescent alcohol use. American Journal on Addiction, 18(3), 226-234.

Shin, S.H., Edwards, E., & Heeren, T. (2009). Child abuse and neglect: Relations to adolescent binge drinking in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth). Addictive Behaviors, 34(3), 277-280.

Shin, S.H., & Brown, T. (2009). Racial/ethnic disparities in caregiver strain and child mental health services use: A structural equation model. Psychiatric Services, 60:1039-1045.

Shin, S.H. (2009). Improving social work practice with foster adolescents: Examining readiness for independence. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(4), 354-371.

Hahm, H.C., Lahiff, M., Baretto, R.M., Shin, S.H., & Chen, W. (2008). Health care disparities and language use at home among Latino, Asian American, and American Indian adolescents: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Journal of Community Psychology, 36(1), 20-34

Shin, S. H., Lundgren, L., & Chassler, D. (2007). Examining drug treatment entry patterns among young injection drug users.  American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 33(2), 217-225.

Shin, S.H., & Choi, S. (2007). State response to substance abusing TANF recipients: The challenge of welfare policy. Journal of Policy Practice, 6(1), 65-83.

Shin, S.H., & Amodeo, M. (2007). Injection drug use among adolescents and young adults: Scope of the problems and recommendations. Families in Society, 88(1), 95-103.

Shin, S.H. (2005). Need for and actual use of mental health services by older foster youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(10), 1071-1083.

Shin, S. H. (2004). Developmental outcomes of vulnerable youth in the child welfare system. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 9(1/2), 39-56. (Simultaneously published in: Dulmus, C., & Sowers, K. (Eds.). (2004). For better or for Worse: How institutions are shaping the future of our children. New York: The Haworth Press.)

Shin, S.H. (2003). Building evidence to promote educational competence of foster youth. Child Welfare, 82(5), 615-632.

Wehrmann, K., Shin, S.H., & Poertner, J. (2002). Transfer of training: An evaluation study. Journal of Health and Social Policy, 15(3), 23-38. (Simultaneously published in: Briar-Lawson, K., & Zlotnik. J. (Eds.). (2003). Evaluation research in child welfare, 23-37. Binghampton, NY: The Haworth Press.)

Shin, S.H. (2002). A review of school-based drug-prevention program evaluations in the 1990s. American Journal of Health Education, May-June, 139-147.

Shin, S. H., Ksinan Jiskrova, G. & Wills, T. (In press).  Childhood maltreatment and alcohol use in young adulthood: The role of self-regulation processes. Addictive Behaviors.

Shin, S. H., McDonald, S. E., & Conley, D. (In press). Profiles of adverse childhood experiences and impulsivity. Child Abuse & Neglect.

Shin, S. H., McDonald, S. E., & Conley, D. (2018). Patterns of adverse childhood experiences and substance use among young adults: A latent class analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 78, 187-192.

McDonald, S. E., Dmitrieva, J., Shin, S., Hitti, S. A., Graham-Bermann, S. A., Ascione, F. R., & Williams, J. H. (2017). The role of callous/unemotional traits in mediating the association between animal abuse exposure and behavior problems among children exposed to intimate partner violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 72, 421-432.

Butzer, B., LoRusso, A., Shin, S.H., & Khalsa, S.S. (2017). Evaluation of yoga for preventing adolescent substance use risk factors in a middle school setting: A preliminary group-randomized controlled trial. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46:603-632.

Shin, S.H., Chung, E., & Rosenberg, R. (2016). Identifying sensitive periods for alcohol use: The roles of timing and chronicity of child physical abuse. Alcoholism:     Clinical and Experimental Research, 40(5), 1020-1029

McDonald, S.E., Shin, S.H., Corona, R., Maternick, A., Graham-Bermann, S. Ascione, F.R., & Williams, J.H. (2016). Children exposed to intimate partner violence: Identifying differential effects of family environment on children’s trauma and psychopathology symptoms through regression mixture models. Child Abuse & Neglect, 58, 1-11.

Shin, S.H., Cook, A., Morris, N., McDougle, R., & Groves, L.P. (2016). The different faces of impulsivity as links between childhood maltreatment and young adult crime. Preventive Medicine, 88, 210-217.

Shin, S.H., Hassamal, S. & Groves, L. (2015). Examining the role of psychological distress in linking childhood maltreatment and alcohol use in young adulthood. American Journal on Addiction, 24, 628-636.

Shin, S.H., Lee, S., Jeon, S., & Wills, T. (2015). Childhood emotional abuse, negative emotion-driven impulsivity, and alcohol use in young adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 50, 94-103.

Shin, S.H., Miller, D.P., & Teicher, M.H. (2013). Exposure to childhood neglect and physical abuse and developmental trajectories of heavy episodic drinking from early adolescence into young adulthood. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 127(1-3), 31-8.

Shin, S.H., Chung, Y., & Jeon, S. (2013). Impulsivity and substance use in young adulthood. American Journal on Addiction, 22(1), 39-45.

Shin, S.H. (2012). A longitudinal examination of the relationships between childhood maltreatment and patterns of adolescent substance use. American Journal on Addiction, 21(5), 453-461.

Shin, S.H., Hong, G., & Wills, T. (2012). An examination of pathways from childhood maltreatment to adolescent binge drinking. American Journal on Addiction, 21(3), 1-8.

Shin, S.H., Hong, G., & Jeon, S. (2012). Personality and alcohol use: The role of impulsivity. Addictive Behaviors, 37(1), 102-107.

Shin, S.H., & Miller, D.P. (2012). A longitudinal examination of childhood maltreatment and adolescent obesity: Results from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth). Child Abuse & Neglect, 36(2), 84-94.

Shin, S.H., & Lee, S. (2011). Caregiver social support for children involved with child welfare: Correlates and racial/ethnic variations. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 5(4), 1-20.

Shin, S.H., Hong, H.G., & Hazen, A. (2010). Childhood sexual abuse and adolescent substance use: A latent class analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 109, 226-235.

Shin, S.H., Edwards, E., Heeren, T., & Amodeo, M. (2009). Relationship between multiple forms of maltreatment by a parent or guardian and adolescent alcohol use. American Journal on Addiction, 18(3), 226-234.

Shin, S.H., Edwards, E., & Heeren, T. (2009). Child abuse and neglect: Relations to adolescent binge drinking in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth). Addictive Behaviors, 34(3), 277-280.

Shin, S.H., & Brown, T. (2009). Racial/ethnic disparities in caregiver strain and child mental health services use: A structural equation model. Psychiatric Services, 60:1039-1045.

Shin, S.H. (2009). Improving social work practice with foster adolescents: Examining readiness for independence. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(4), 354-371.

Hahm, H.C., Lahiff, M., Baretto, R.M., Shin, S.H., & Chen, W. (2008). Health care disparities and language use at home among Latino, Asian American, and American Indian adolescents: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Journal of Community Psychology, 36(1), 20-34

Shin, S. H., Lundgren, L., & Chassler, D. (2007). Examining drug treatment entry patterns among young injection drug users.  American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 33(2), 217-225.

Shin, S.H., & Choi, S. (2007). State response to substance abusing TANF recipients: The challenge of welfare policy. Journal of Policy Practice, 6(1), 65-83.

Shin, S.H., & Amodeo, M. (2007). Injection drug use among adolescents and young adults: Scope of the problems and recommendations. Families in Society, 88(1), 95-103.

Shin, S.H. (2005). Need for and actual use of mental health services by older foster youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(10), 1071-1083.

Shin, S. H. (2004). Developmental outcomes of vulnerable youth in the child welfare system. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 9(1/2), 39-56. (Simultaneously published in: Dulmus, C., & Sowers, K. (Eds.). (2004). For better or for Worse: How institutions are shaping the future of our children. New York: The Haworth Press.)

Shin, S.H. (2003). Building evidence to promote educational competence of foster youth. Child Welfare, 82(5), 615-632.

Wehrmann, K., Shin, S.H., & Poertner, J. (2002). Transfer of training: An evaluation study. Journal of Health and Social Policy, 15(3), 23-38. (Simultaneously published in: Briar-Lawson, K., & Zlotnik. J. (Eds.). (2003). Evaluation research in child welfare, 23-37. Binghampton, NY: The Haworth Press.)

Shin, S.H. (2002). A review of school-based drug-prevention program evaluations in the 1990s. American Journal of Health Education, May-June, 139-147.