Motohiro Nakajima, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and BioBehavioral Health

Motohiro Nakajima

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-0437

Office Address:
925 Delaware Street SE
Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55415

PhD, Social/Health Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2009

MS, Social/Health Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2005

BA, English Literature in Linguistics, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan, 2001


I am interested in psychobiological mechanisms of stress and smoking, and psychosocial determinants of khat use.

My recent research is focused on behavioral health (mental health and addiction) among East African communities.



  • al'Absi, M., Nakajima, M., & Lemieux, A. (2018). Impact of early life adversity on the stress biobehavioral response during nicotine withdrawal. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 98, 108-118.
  • Lemieux, A. M., Nakajima, M., Saif-Ali, R., Al-Habori, M., Dokam, A., & al'Absi, M. (2018). Anger, anxiety, and depressive affect as predictors of stress-induced cortisol production in khat and tobacco users. Addictive Behaviors, 82, 195-201.
  • Nakajima, M., Hoffman, R., Alsameai, A., Khalil, N. S., & al'Absi, M. (2018). Development of the khat knowledge, attitudes and perception scale. Drug and Alcohol Review.
  • Nakajima, M., Allen, S., & al'Absi, M. (2018). Influences of the menstrual phase on cortisol response to stress in nicotine dependent women: A preliminary examination. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.
  • Nakajima M, Jebena MG, Taha M, Tesfaye M, Gudina E, Lemieux A, Hoffman R, al'Absi M. Correlates of khat use during pregnancy: A cross-sectional study. Addict Behav. 2017 Oct;73:178-184.
  • Raatz SK, Jahns L, Johnson LK, Scheett A, Carriquiry A, Lemieux A, Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Smokers report lower intake of key nutrients than nonsmokers, yet both fall short of meeting recommended intakes. Nutr Res. 2017 Sep;45:30-37.
  • Nakajima M, Molla K, Belachew B, Mohammed A, Hassan A, Kroll J, al'Absi M. Khat Use is Associated with Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illicit Drug Use: A Cross-Sectional Examination in the United States. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2017 Jul 12:1-7.
  • El Mhamdi S, Lemieux A, Bouanene I, Ben Salah A, Nakajima M, Ben Salem K, al'Absi M. Gender differences in adverse childhood experiences, collective violence, and the risk for addictive behaviors among university students in Tunisia. Prev Med. 2017 Jun;99:99-104.
  • Nakajima M, Hoffman R, al'Absi M. Level of khat dependence, use patterns, and psychosocial correlates in Yemen: a cross-sectional investigation. East Mediterr Health J. 2017 May 1;23(3):161-167.
  • Nakajima M, Chen W, Fleming R. Effects of unrecognized physiological residual arousal on emotional experience. J Appl Biobehav Res. 2017.
  • Bongard S, Olson L, Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Anger Expression Style Predicts the Domain of the First Smoking Relapse After a Quit Attempt. Subst Use Misuse. 2016 Nov 9;51(13):1810-4.
  • Wiggert N, Wilhelm FH, Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Chronic Smoking, Trait Anxiety, and the Physiological Response to Stress. Subst Use Misuse. 2016 Oct 14;51(12):1619-1628.
  • Nakajima M, Dokam A, Khalil NS, Alsoofi M, al'Absi M. Correlates of Concurrent Khat and Tobacco Use in Yemen. Subst Use Misuse. 2016 Oct 14;51(12):1535-1541.
  • Lemieux A, Olson L, Nakajima M, Schulberg L, al'Absi M. Life adversity is associated with smoking relapse after a quit attempt. Addict Behav. 2016 Sep;60:71-7.
  • Chatterjee S, Hovsepian K, Sarker H, Saleheen N, al'Absi M, Atluri G, Ertin E, Lam C, Lemieux A, Nakajima M, Spring B, Wetter DW, Kumar S. mCrave: Continuous Estimation of Craving During Smoking Cessation. Proc ACM Int Conf Ubiquitous Comput. 2016 Sep;2016:863-874.
  • Nakajima M, Bouanene I, El-Mhamdi S, Soltani M, Bongard S, al'Absi M. Psychometric Examination of an Arabic Version of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2016 Aug;16(3):e322-8.
  • Jebena MG, Taha M, Nakajima M, Lemieux A, Lemessa F, Hoffman R, Tesfaye M, Belachew T, Workineh N, Kebede E, Gemechu T, Tariku Y, Segni H, Kolsteren P, al'Absi M. Household food insecurity and mental distress among pregnant women in Southwestern Ethiopia: a cross sectional study design. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015 Oct 8;15:250.
  • Lemieux A, Nakajima M, Hatsukami DK, Allen S, al'Absi M. Changes in circulating leptin levels during the initial stage of cessation are associated with smoking relapse. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Sep;232(18):3355-61.
  • Hovsepian K, al'Absi M, Ertin E, Kamarck T, Nakajima M, Kumar S. Stress: Towards a Gold Standard for Continuous Stress Assessment in the Mobile Environment. Proc ACM Int Conf Ubiquitous Comput. 2015 Sep;2015:493-504.
  • Bongard S, Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Khat chewing and acculturation in East-African migrants living in Frankfurt am Main/Germany. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Apr 22;164:223-8.
  • al'Absi M, Lemieux A, Nakajima M, Hatsukami DK, Allen S. Circulating leptin and pain perception among tobacco-dependent individuals. Biol Psychol. 2015 Apr;107:10-5.
  • al'Absi M, Nakajima M, Allen S, Lemieux A, Hatsukami D. Sex differences in hormonal responses to stress and smoking relapse: a prospective examination. Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 Apr;17(4):382-9.
  • al'Absi M, Lemieux A, Nakajima M. Peptide YY and ghrelin predict craving and risk for relapse in abstinent smokers. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Nov;49:253-9.
  • Nakajima M, Al'Absi M. Nicotine withdrawal and stress-induced changes in pain sensitivity: a cross-sectional investigation between abstinent smokers and nonsmokers. Psychophysiology. 2014 Oct;51(10):1015-22.
  • Nakajima M, Dokam A, Alsameai A, AlSoofi M, Khalil N, al'Absi M. Severity of khat dependence among adult khat chewers: the moderating influence of gender and age. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Sep 29;155(3):1467-72.
  • Potretzke S, Nakajima M, Cragin T, al'Absi M. Changes in circulating leptin levels during acute stress and associations with craving in abstinent smokers: a preliminary investigation. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Sep;47:232-40.
  • al'Absi M, Nakajima M, Dokam A, Sameai A, Alsoofi M, Saem Khalil N, Al Habori M. Concurrent tobacco and khat use is associated with blunted cardiovascular stress response and enhanced negative mood: a cross-sectional investigation. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jul;29(4):307-15.
  • Nyongesa AW, Oduma JA, Nakajima M, Odongo HO, Adoyo PA, al'Absi M. Acute and sub-chronic effects of purified cathinone from khat (Catha edulis) on behavioural profiles in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops). Metab Brain Dis. 2014 Jun;29(2):441-9.
  • Nyongesa AW, Oduma JA, Nakajima M, Odongo HO, Adoyo PA, al'Absi M. Dose-response inhibitory effects of purified cathinone from khat (Catha edulis) on cortisol and prolactin release in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops). Metab Brain Dis. 2014 Jun;29(2):451-8.
  • Nakajima M, Dokam A, Kasim AN, Alsoofi M, Khalil NS, al'Absi M. Habitual khat and concurrent khat and tobacco use are associated with subjective sleep quality. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014 May 22;11:E86.
  • Nakajima M, Hoffman R, Al'Absi M. Poor working memory and reduced blood pressure levels in concurrent users of khat and tobacco. Nicotine Tob Res. 2014 Mar;16(3):279-87.
  • Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Patterns of change in affect and adrenocortical activity over an extended period of smoking abstinence. Psychol Addict Behav. 2013 Dec;27(4):1189-95.
  • Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Psychosocial deterrents of tobacco and khat use among men and women. Public Health. 2013 Jul;127(7):684-6.
  • Nakajima M, al'Absi M, Dokam A, Alsoofi M, Khalil NS, Al Habori M. Gender differences in patterns and correlates of khat and tobacco use. Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Jun;15(6):1130-5.
  • al'Absi M, Nakajima M, Grabowski J. Stress response dysregulation and stress-induced analgesia in nicotine dependent men and women. Biol Psychol. 2013 Apr;93(1):1-8.
  • Nakajima M, Kumar S, Wittmers L, Scott MS, al'Absi M. Psychophysiological responses to stress following alcohol intake in social drinkers who are at risk of hazardous drinking. Biol Psychol. 2013 Apr;93(1):9-16.
  • Nakajima M, al'Absi M, Dokam A, Alsoofi M, Khalil NS. An examination of the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence among concurrent tobacco and khat users. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2012 Nov-Dec;44(5):437-41.
  • Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Predictors of risk for smoking relapse in men and women: a prospective examination. Psychol Addict Behav. 2012 Sep;26(3):633-7.
  • al'Absi M, Nakajima M, Hooker S, Wittmers L, Cragin T. Exposure to acute stress is associated with attenuated sweet taste. Psychophysiology. 2012 Jan;49(1):96-103.
  • Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Enhanced pain perception prior to smoking cessation is associated with early relapse. Biol Psychol. 2011 Sep;88(1):141-6.
  • Nakajima M, Fleming R. Cognitive and Physiological Determinants of Symptom Perception and Interpretation. J Appl Biobehav Res. 2008 January; 13(1):42-66.

Book Chapter

Sarker, H., Hovsepian, K., Chatterjee, S., Nahum-Shani, I., Murphy, S., Spring, B., Ertin, E., al'Absi, M., Nakajima, M., & Kumar, S. (2017). From markers to interventions: The case of just-in-time stress intervention. Mobile health: Sensors, analytic methods, and applications. Springer.Rehg JM., Murphy, SA., Kumar, S (Eds.)

Nakajima M, al'Absi M. Neuroscience of Pain, Stress, and Emotion. Flaten M, al'Absi M, editors. London: Elsevier; 2016. Addiction, Pain, and Stress Response; p.203-229.