Joe Tomaka


HSS 311

Joe Tomaka, Ph.D. is Professor of Public Health Sciences and at NMSU and Director of Crimson Research. Dr. Tomaka, Ph.D., received his Baccalaureate degree from Geneseo State University (1987), and his Master’s (1990) and Ph.D. degrees (1993) in Social and Health Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Tomaka served as Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso where he served as Chair of the Department of Health Promotion, Associate Dean for the College of Health Sciences, and Director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Ph.D. Program. In 2013, he came to New Mexico State University to serve as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Health and Social Services. Across his 25 years’ experience, Dr. Tomaka is or has been PI or Co-I on over 20 extramurally-funded projects and has over 60 peer-reviewed publications in a wide-variety of journals. Project funding has come from numerous sources including government agencies (NIH, SAMHSA) as well as private foundations (Paso Del Norte Health Foundation). Personally and through his direction of Crimson Research, he has evaluated a wide variety of health and social programs to include programs for disconnected youth, smoking cessation, SBIRT for alcohol risk reduction, drug/alcohol prevention programs, drug court, Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Program, DWI compliance monitoring and prevention programs, and SBIRT programs to benefit homeless individuals. He has also mentored multiple undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D.–level theses and dissertations. His current research interests include (a) individual differences in stress appraisal and relation to discrete emotion, and (b) how death thoughts and reminders of personal mortality relate to attitudes and social behavior, and (c) the relations between toxic masculinity and dark personalty traits.


Ph.D., SUNY at Buffalo
MA, SUNY at Buffalo
BA, Geneseo State University

Awards & Honors

  • Mountain West CTR-IN, Outstanding Faculty Mentor (2022)
  • CHSS Research Award (2017)

Research Interests

  • Individual differences in stress appraisal and relation to discrete emotion
  • How death thoughts and reminders of personal mortality relate to attitudes and social behavior
  • Relations between toxic masculinity and dark personalty traits

Selected Publications

  • Tomaka J, & Magoc D. (2021) Personality antecedents of challenge and threat appraisal. Stress and Health, 37(4):682-691. doi: 10.1002/smi.3028. Epub 2021 February 2. PMID: 33440061.
  • Kavanaugh*, T.C., Tomaka, J., & Moralez, E. (2021) Professional Preparedness and Psychosocial Beliefs as Predictors of Quality Physical Education and Recreation Services to Students with Disabilities. Therapeutic Recreation Journal; Urbana Vol. 55, Iss. 4, (Fourth Quarter 2021): 414-431. DOI:10.18666/TRJ-2021-V55-I4-11040
  • Tomaka J., Palacios R.L., Champion*, C, & Monks, S (2018). Development and Validation of an Instrument that Assesses Individual Differences in Threat and Challenge Appraisal. Journal of Depression and Anxiety 7, 313. doi:10.4172/2167-1044.1000313
  • Tomaka, J. Cardiel*, A., Morales-Monks, S., & Magoc, D. (2017). Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Alcohol-Related Outcomes Among Municipal Firefighters. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 30(4), 416-424. doi: 10.1002/jts.22203