Robert Turrisi honored by MADD for research-based national programs

September 10, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, has received the Ralph Hingson Researcher of the Year Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for his high school-level parenting intervention that has become the centerpiece of MADD’s national-level prevention effort, known as the “Power of Parents.”

Turrisi -- who also is a faculty associate in the Penn State Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development and the Children, Youth and Families Consortium -- designed the intervention based on more than 20 years of his research focusing on substance abuse and parent-adolescent relationships.
In addition to examining alcohol use and abuse among young people, Turrisi also conducts skin cancer prevention research that aims to increase parents’ knowledge of the dangers of the sun and of tanning salons, and asks parents to communicate this knowledge to their children. He also investigates college students’ knowledge of and abuse of steroids and other performance enhancers.

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 doctoral degree 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.

The Ralph Hingson Researcher of the Year Award is named in honor of Ralph Hingson, associate director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and a founding board member of MADD, whose scientific work on seatbelt use, the effects of DUIs, and underage drinking, among other areas, has led to significant national-level policies that save millions of lives each year.


  • Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015