Ryan S. Trim, Ph.D. 



Contact Information

3350 La Jolla Village Drive (116B)
San Diego, CA 92161
T: (858) 642-3693


Dr. Trim graduated with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Arizona State University after completing the APA-approved internship at UCSD/VASDHS. He subsequently was awarded an NIAAA postdoctoral fellowship to work with Dr. Marc Schuckit at UCSD which preceded his faculty appointment to the UCSD Department of Psychiatry.

His research has focused on the development of substance use disorders across the lifespan. Drawing from developmental psychopathology and ecological systems perspectives, Dr. Trim has focused on three major areas of research: 1) Cognitive processes underlying the development of substance use in adolescence and young adulthood 2) Family and environmental characteristics that exacerbate risk for substance use outcomes across development and 3) Exploring antecedents and consequences of substance use changes over time. Consistent with these research areas, he has an overarching interest in longitudinal data analysis and utilizing statistical models of change to capture dynamic patterns of substance use behaviors.

Currently, Dr. Trim is funded by NIAAA for his research on young adult alcohol-tobacco co-use, and he serves as site PI for a DoD-funded multisite project exploring the warning signs of suicide attempts. He is also a co-investigator on several other NIAAA, NIDA, and VA research projects at UCSD/VASDHS.

Dr. Trim holds a concurrent appointment in the VASDHS Psychology Service (as Director of the SAMI Dual Diagnosis Clinic) and serves as a primary clinical supervisor for psychology students and interns in the SAMI Clinic. He also provides research mentorship for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with interests in substance use research.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Trim is actively involved in several areas of substance use research. He continues his work within developmental psychosocial research through the application of complex longitudinal models on high-risk samples that have been assessed over decades. Dr. Trim also has a strong interest in the examination of environmental and contextual risk factors for heavy drinking, particularly in college students, which he pursues with collaborators at SDSU. He is involved with clinical research protocols at the VASDHS and has collaborations and interests in treatment-focused addictions research. He has training in neuroimaging and the use of fMRI, and plans to pursue training and research experiences in the fields of social network analysis and behavioral genetics as they apply to alcohol and drug problems and disorders.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Trim is a psychologist in the Substance Abuse / Mental Illness (SAMI) Clinic in the VA San Diego Healthcare System where he helps oversee the assessment and treatment of veterans with dual diagnosis. Dr. Trim has extensive experience with cognitive-behavioral therapy and related treatment modalities, and he supervises psychology trainees and psychiatric residents in the application of group and individual CBT for substance use, mood, anxiety/PTSD, and psychotic disorders. Dr. Trim has also served on the Psychiatric Emergency Team for UCSD's Thornton Hospital, providing on-call support for assessment of emergency room patients in psychiatric distress. Dr. Trim is licensed in the state of California with clinical privileges at both the VASDHS and UCSD Medical Center.


  • Trim, R.S., Schuckit, M.A., & Smith, T.L. (2013). Predictors of initial and sustained recovery from alcohol use disorders: Findings from the 30-year follow-up of the San Diego Prospective Study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37, 1424-1431.
  • Norman, S.B., Trim, R.S., Goldsmith, A., Dimsdale, J.E., Hoyt, D.B., Norman, G., & Stein, M.B. (2011). Role of risk factors proximate to time of trauma in the course of PTSD and MDD symptoms following traumatic injury. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24, 390-398.
  • Trim, R.S., Clapp, J.D., Reed, M.B., Shillington, A.M., & Thombs, D. (2011). Drinking plans and drinking outcomes: Examining young adult weekend drinking behavior. Journal of Drug Education, 41, 253-270.
  • Trim, R.S., Simmons, A.N., Tolentino, N.J., Matthews, S.C., Robinson, S.K., Smith, T.L., Padula, C.B., Paulus, M.P., Tapert, S.F., & Schuckit, M.A. (2010). Acute alcohol effects on brain activation in low- and high-level responders to alcohol. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 34, 1162-1170.
  • Trim, R.S., Schuckit, M.A., & Smith, T.L. (2010). Predicting drinking onset with discrete-time survival analysis in offspring from the San Diego Prospective Study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 107, 215-220.
  • Trim, R.S., Schuckit, M.A., & Smith, T.L. (2009). The relationship of the level of response to alcohol and additional characteristics to the onset of alcohol use disorders across adulthood: A discrete-time survival analysis. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 33, 1562-1570.
  • Trim, R.S., & Chassin, L. (2008). Neighborhood SES effects on adolescent alcohol outcomes using growth curve models: Exploring the role of parental alcoholism. Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs, 69, 639-648.
  • Trim, R.S., Schuckit, M.A, & Smith, T.L. (2008). Level of response to alcohol within the context of alcohol-related domains: An examination of longitudinal approaches assessing changes over time. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 32, 472-480.
  • Trim, R.S., Meehan, B.T., King, K.M., & Chassin, L. (2007). The relation between adolescent substance use and young adult internalizing symptoms: Findings from a high-risk longitudinal sample. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 97-107.
  • Trim, R.S., Leuthe, E., & Chassin, L. (2006). Sibling influence on alcohol use in a young adult, high-risk sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67, 391-398.
  • Trim, R.S., & Chassin, L. (2004). Drinking restraint, alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence among children of alcoholics. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65, 122-125.