Sanna J. Thompson, Ph.D.

Sanna J. Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Sanna J. Thompson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work. Dr. Thompson received her MSW and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, MO (1992, 1998). Her research has focused primarily on high-risk youth, with special emphasis on runaway/homeless youth populations. She has conducted numerous studies of runaway and homeless youth utilizing emergency shelter services in the mid-west, Western New York, and Texas. She has also conducted analyses of a national sample of runaway/homeless youth (RHY MIS-1997). Dr. Thompson’s publications in journals such as, Family Relations, Social Work Research, Research on Social Work Practice, and Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse reflect her focus on issues of high-risk adolescents and their families. She received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K01-DA015671-05) for a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award. This career development award provided funding to conduct and evaluate an in-home family-based intervention with high-risk youth and their families. Currently, she is conducting research with homeless young adults concerning their substance use and issues related to trauma. As a co-investigator with Dr. Lynn Rew (School of Nursing), an intervention with homeless young adults was developed. With 2 years of funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, Drs. Thompson and Rew will implement and test this intervention focusing on high risk sexual behaviors and substance use using goal attainment and positive psychology perspectives.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

Clinical interventions with adolescents and families; juvenile delinquency; runaway/homeless youth; adolescent substance abuse intervention research; homeless young adults.


  • Ph.D., Washington University
  • M.S.W., Washington University
  • B.S., Weber State University

Teaching History

Faculty Research

Faculty Publications


(For complete list see vita.)


National Institute of Nursing Research Co-Investigator. 
Grant title: Enhancing Psychological Capital to Foster Health Outcomes in Homeless Young Women Grant #R21-NR013538-01, Funded: 3/2012 – 3/2014) ($225,000)

National Institute of Drug Abuse – Addictions Research Center Pilot Grant Principal Investigator
. Grant title: Substance Use/Abuse among Homeless Street Youth Funded: 8/2006-5/2007 ($15,000)

National Institute of Drug Abuse Principal Investigator and Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01). 
Grant title: Family-based substance use treatment for runaway youth Grant # 5K01 DA0-15671-05 
Submitted: Feb. 1, 2002 
Funded: $644,650 / 5 years at 75% effort 
Funding received 6/2003-5/2009

Wendt Foundation Principal Investigator. 
Grant title: Detention Youth Project Funded: 5/11/00 ($5,500)

Wendt Foundation Principal Investigator. 
Grant title: Homeless and Runaway Youth Needs Project Funded: 6/1/99 ($10,000)

Center for Development of Human Services Principle Investigator. 
Grant title: Assessment of Caseworker Interventions for At-risk Youth Funded: 5/17/99 ($2,250)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration to Children, Youth and Families Co-Investigator 
(David Pollio, Ph.D. Principal investigator). 
Grant Title: Homeless and Runaway Youth Outcomes among Youths in the Missouri-Iowa- Nebraska-Kansas (MINK) Network Funded: 10/1/96-10/1/98 ($60,000)

University of Texas at Arlington Research Enhancement Grant
Principle Investigator. 
Grant title: Runaway/homeless youth: Predictors of substance use and other high-risk behaviors Funded: 8/1/2002-5/30/2003 ($10,000)


Social Work Building

Phone:(512) 232-0604
Fax:(512) 232-0617

Mailing Address

The University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3510
Austin, TX 78712-0358