Beth Wahler, MSW, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs / Associate Professor

ES 4138J
902 West New York Street, ES 4138G
(317) 274-6713
Area of responsibility:
IUSSW system with office located at IUPUI


Dr. Wahler received a B.S. in psychology from the University of Evansville and her M.S.W. and Ph.D. in social work from the University of Kentucky.  She is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and has been on the faculty in the School of Social Work since 2012.  

Area of Interest

Dr. Wahler’s main research interests involve social work education, the impact of poverty and other factors associated with social disadvantage on the development and perpetuation of mental health and substance abuse problems, and interventions for improving the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty. Interventions studied include Getting Ahead and public library-based social work.  Currently, the majority of her research focuses on helping public libraries address the psychosocial needs of their patrons, including conducting needs assessments with individual library systems, identifying strategies for improving their capacity to respond to patron needs, and piloting social work practicum units or other social work collaborations.  

Teaching Interest

Dr. Wahler has taught across the curriculum in the substantive areas of practice, policy, theory, and research, and has taught in the BSW, MSW, and PhD programs.  

Practice Experience

Prior to earning her PhD, Dr. Wahler previously worked as both a practitioner and supervisor for over 14 years.  Her practice experience was primarily with individuals living in poverty attempting to overcome substance use disorders, mental health problems, learning disabilities and/or intimate partner violence victimization.

Publications / Presentations

Wahler, E. A., Rortvedt, C., & Saecker, T. (in press). Public library patrons’ views of their psychosocial needs and how the library can help. The Library Quarterly.

McCarthy, K. M., Mariscal, E. S., & Wahler, E. A. (in press). MSW student concerns about addressing clients' substance use and misuse. Journal of Teaching in Social Work.

Wahler, E. A., *Provence, M. A., Johnson, S. C., Helling, J., & Williams, M. A. (in press). Library patrons’ psychosocial needs: Perceptions of need and reasons for accessing social work services. Social Work.

Wilkerson, D. A., Wolfe-Taylor, S. N., Deck, C. K., Wahler, E. A., & Davis, T. S. (2020). Telebehavioral practice basics for social work educators and clinicians responding to COVID-19. Journal of Social Work Education.

Brandon-Friedman, R., Pierce, B., Wahler, E. A., Thigpen, J., & Fortenberry, J. (2020). Sexual identity development and its impact on sexual well-being: Differences between sexual minority and non-sexual minority former foster youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 17(2020).

Gallagher, J. R., Wahler, E. A., & Nordberg, A. (2020).Predictors of graduation and criminal recidivism: Findings from a drug court that primarily serves African Americans. Journal of Ethnicity and Cultural Diversity in Social Work.

Wahler, E. A., & Cummings, C. (2020). Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World: Gender differences in intake characteristics and poorer outcomes observed for men. Journal of Men’s Studies.

Gallagher, J. R., Wahler, E. A., & Lefebvre, E.(2020). Further evidence of racial disparities in drug court outcomes: Enhancing service-delivery to reduce criminal recidivism rates for non-White participants. Journal of Social Science Research. 46(3), 406-415.

Provence, M. A., Wahler, E. A., Helling, J., & Williams, M. A. (2020). Self-reported psychosocial needs of public library patrons: Comparisons based on housing status. Public Library Quarterly. doi: 10.1080/01616846.2020.1730738

Brandon-Friedman, R., Wahler, E. A., Pierce, B. J., Thigpen, J. W., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2020). The impact of sociosexualization and sexual identity formation on the sexual well-being of youth formerly in the foster care system. Journal of Adolescent Health.

Wahler, E. A., Provence, M. A., Helling, J., & Williams, M. A. (2019). The changing role of libraries: How social workers can help. Families in Society. doi: 10.1177/1044389419850707

Gallagher, J. R., Wahler, E. A., Minasian, R. M., & Edwards, A. (2019). Treating opioid use disorders in drug court: Participants’ views on using medication-assisted treatments (MATs) to support recovery. International Criminal Justice Review. doi: 10.1177/1057567719846227

Wahler, E. A. (2019). Improving student receptivity to research by linking methods to practice skills. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 39(3), 248-259. doi: 10.1080/08841233.2019.1611693

Larimer, S., Sullivan, W. P., Wahler, E. A., & McCabe, H. A. (2018). No more silos: Animating integrated care practice in the classroom. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 38(4), 363-378. doi: 10.1080/08841233.2018.1503216

Gallagher, J. R., Wahler, E. A., Lefebvre, E., Paiano, T., Carlton, J., & Miller, J.W.(2018). Improving graduation rates in drug court through employment and schooling opportunities and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Journal of Social Science Research, 44(3), 343-349. doi: 10.1080/01488376.2018.1472173

Wahler, E. A., & Adhami, A. (2018). Barriers to program completion of a voluntary capacity-building group intervention for individuals living in poverty. Journal of Poverty. doi: 10.1080/10875549.2017.1419528

Gallagher, J. R., & Wahler, E. A. (2018). Racial disparities in drug court graduation rates: The role of recovery support groups and environments. Social Work Practice in the Addictions. doi: 10.1080/1533256X.2018.1448277

Wahler, E. A., & W. P. Sullivan (2017). No time like the present: Improving the current system of care for low-income substance abusers with comorbid health conditions. Families in Society, 98(4), 292-299.

Wahler, E. A., & Badger, K. (2017). Exploring faculty perceptions of student incivility in social work: Results from a national survey. Advances in Social Work, 17(2). doi: 10.18060/20886

W. P. Sullivan & Wahler, E. A. (2016). Chronic care, integrated care, and mental health: Moving the needle now. Social Work in Mental Health. doi: 10.1080/15332985.2016.1265636

Wahler, E. A. (2016). A group-based intervention for persons living in poverty: Psychosocial improvements noted among participants of Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World. Journal of Social Work with Groups. doi: 10.1080/01609513.2016.1188750

McCabe, H. A., & Wahler, E. A. (2016). The Affordable Care Act, substance use disorders, and low-income clients: Implications for social work. Social Work, 61(3), 227-233. doi: 10.1093/sw/sww030

Gallagher, J. R., Wahler, E. A., Marshall, B. M.,Leiter, N. E.,Deranek, M. S., & Harrington,L. L.(2015). Who is most likely to graduate from Teen Court? Journal of Forensic Social Work, 5(1-3), 49-66. doi:10.1080/1936928X.2015.1092904

Wahler, E. A., Otis, M. D., & Leukefeld, C. G. (2015). Learning problems as predictors of depressive symptomology in female TANF recipients. Journal of Poverty,19(2), 177-196. doi: 10.1080/10875549.2014.991890

Wahler, E. A. (2015). Social disadvantage and economic hardship as predictors of follow-up addiction severity after substance abuse treatment: Does referral to treatment by the criminal justice system matter? Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 33(1), 6-27.

Wahler, E. A. (2015). Retribution or rehabilitation? Conflicting goals of U. S. policies pertaining to drug felonies and their impact on women. Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy, 36, 1-12.

Wahler, E. A., & Otis, M. D. (2014). Social disadvantage, economic hardship, and psychological distress as predictors of sustained abstinence from substance use after treatment. Substance Use and Misuse, 49(13), 1820-1832.

Wahler, E. A. (2012). Identifying and challenging social work students’ biases. Social Work Education, 31(8), 1058-1070.

Staton-Tindall, M., Wahler, E. A., Webster, J. M.,Leukefeld, C. G., & Freeman, R. (2012). Telemedicine-based alcohol services for rural problem drinkers. Psychological Services, 9(3), 298-309.