Turrisi to be featured speaker at MADD news conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, and developer of the underage drinking prevention effort known as the Power of Parents, will be a featured speaker at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) news conference on “21 Days in Support of 21,” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 1.

MADD will present new data from a Nationwide Insurance-MADD survey on what keeps teens from engaging in underage drinking. According to these data, three out of four teens point to their parents as the biggest influence on their decisions about alcohol.

“21 Days in Support of 21” is a 21-day national event. From April 1 to 21, MADD will showcase community and online events designed to help parents keep teens safe during spring break, prom and graduation season. The series culminates with MADD’s fourth annual Power Talk 21® on April 21 -- the national date on which parents are urged to begin talking with their teens about alcohol.

Other speakers at the April 1 press conference will include MADD national President Jan Withers; four mothers from California, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia whose teen daughters died as a result of underage drinking; and Nationwide Insurance Associate Vice President of Consumer Safety Bill Windsor.

Turrisi -- who is also a faculty associate in the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, and the Children, Youth, and Families Consortium at Penn State -- designed the intervention based on his over 20 years of research focusing on substance abuse and parent-adolescent relationships.

Turrisi has authored hundreds of articles and co-authored several books on topics that range from statistical analysis to the role of parenting in preventing risky behavior in children. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhode Island University in 1983 and a doctorate in social psychology from the University at Albany, the State University of New York, in 1988. He has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 2004.

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Last Updated March 31, 2014