JoAnn Lee, PhD

JoAnn Lee
Titles and Organizations

Associate Professor, Social Work

Contact Information

Phone: 703-993-8411
Building: Peterson Hall
Room 3610

Personal Websites


Dr. JoAnn Lee is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work. Lee’s research interests are to improve the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, public systems that intervene in the lives of marginalized individuals. Her research activities revolve around the following three aspects: a) advancing our understanding of the transition to adulthood (ages 18-34); b) assessing the impact of child welfare and juvenile justice system intervention on young adult life outcomes; and c) identifying structural and social contextual factors that contribute to deviance, delinquency, or engagement in criminal behaviors. She frames her work within the life course perspective, recognizing the interplay between human agency and larger social contexts throughout an individual’s life. 

Before coming to Mason, Lee was a postdoctoral fellow at Seattle Children's Research Institute where she examined relationships between social contexts and youth deviant behaviors. Her practice experiences include addressing substance use issues among juvenile justice and Asian American youth populations, as well as homeless and marginally housed youth. 



Research Interests

  • Young adults
  • Juvenile justice
  • Child welfare
  • Adolescents
  • Delinquency
  • Social services


Lee, J.S. & Monsted Ballew, K.*. (in press). The role of independent living service receipt and educational attainment on young adult incarceration among adjudicated foster youth aging out of care. Journal of Youth Studies.

Taylor, L. R., Taxman, F. S., & Lee, J.S. (in press). Participant and program characteristics: Correlates of substance abuse treatment participation and prison misconduct. The Prison Journal

Lee, J.S. & Logan-Greene, P. (in press). Patterns of family service needs and caregiver-child relationships among families at risk of child welfare involvement. Child and Family Social Work.

Inoue, M., Cordisco Tsai, L., Lee, J.S., Ihara, E.I., Tompkins, C., Aguimatang, J.*, Fountain, K.*, & Hudson, S.* (2017). Creating an integrative research learning environment for BSW and MSW Students. Journal of Social Work Education, 53(4), 759-764.

Lee, J.S., Tajima, E.A., Herrenkohl, T.I., & Hong, S. (2017). The effects of formal and informal deviant labels in adolescence on crime in adulthood. Social Work Research, 41(2), 97-109.

Lee, J.S. & Waithaka, E.N. (2017). The intersections of marginalized social identities in the transition to adulthood: A demographic profile. Emerging Adulthood, 5(3), 151-163.

Lee, J.S. & Patton, J.* (2017). The social exclusion of dually-involved youth: Toward a sense of belonging. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 64(1), 41-64.

Lee, J.S., Romich, J.L., Kang, J.Y., Hook, J.L, & Marcenko, M. (2017). The impact of income on reunification among families with children in out-of-home care. Children and Youth Services Review, 72, 91-99.

Kang, J.Y., Romich, J.L., Hook, J.L., Lee, J., & Marcenko, M. (2016). Dual-system families: Cash assistance sequences of households involved with child welfare. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 10(4), 352-375.

Hook, J.L., Romich, J.R., Lee, J.S., Marcenko, M.O., & Kang, J.Y. (2016). Trajectories of economic disconnection among families in the child welfare system. Social Problems, 63(2) 161-179.

Lee, J.S., Courtney, M.E., Harachi, T.W., & Tajima, E. A. (2015). Labeling and the effect of adolescent legal system involvement on adult outcomes for foster youth aging out of care. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(5), 441-451.

Lee, J. S. (2014). An institutional framework for the study of the transition to adulthood. Youth & Society, 46(5), 703-730.

Lee, J. S., McCarty, C.A., Ahrens, K., King, K.M., Vander-Stoep, A., & McCauley, E. (2014). Pubertal timing and adolescent substance initiation. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 14(3), 286-307.

Lee, J. S., Courtney, M.E., & Tajima, E. (2014). Extended foster care support during the transition to adulthood: Effect on the risk of arrest. Children and Youth Services Review, 42, 34-42.

Courtney, M. E., Hook, J. L., & Lee, J. S. (2012). Distinct subgroups of former foster youth in early adulthood: Implications for policy and practice. Child Care in Practice, 18(4), 409-418.

Marcenko, M. O., Hook, J. L., Romich, J. L. & Lee, J. S. (2012). Multiple jeopardy: Poor, economically disconnected, and child welfare involved. Child Maltreatment, 17(3), 195-206.

Lee, J. S., Courtney, M.E., & Hook, J.L. (2012). Formal bonds during the transition to adulthood: Extended foster care support and criminal/legal involvement. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 6(3), 255-279.

Courtney, M.E., Lee, J., & Perez, A. (2011). Receipt of help acquiring life skills and predictors of help receipt among current and former foster youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(12), 2442-2451.

Wilderson, D., Lee, J., & Gibson, E. (2007). A comprehensive housing model for homeless transitional age youth. IMPACT: A Multidisciplinary Journal Addressing the Issues of Urban Youth, 1(1), 11-18.


“Institutional Pathways: Dynamics and Characteristics of System Service Use by Serious Adolescent Offenders,” National Institute of Justice, Award number 2015-JF-FX-0144. January 2015-March 2016. Role: Principal Investigator. $40,000.

“Social Work integrative Research Lab Project Scholarship Development Grant,” George Mason University Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, & Research. 2016-2017. Role: Co-Principal Investigator. $46,500.

“Impact of Adjudication Status and Independent Living Services on the Transition to Adulthood for Foster Care Youth,” George Mason University Office of Research & Economic Development. Summer 2014. Role: Principal Investigator. $2500.



  • PhD, Social Welfare, University of Washington
  • MSSW, Social Work, Columbia University
  • MPA, Public Administration, Columbia University
  • BA, Psychology, Stanford University