Headshot of Robert Turrisi

Robert Turrisi

Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Prevention Research

210 Biobehavioral Health Building
814-865-7808
rturrisi@psu.edu

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Introduction & Projects

"I try to make the world a better place by helping individuals achieve positive goals, whether those be health oriented, family oriented, educational, professional, or helping others."

Rob Turrisi has been engaged in research on prevention science topics for more than 35 years. His initial work looked at methods for reducing drunk driving — a subject on which he is passionate and continues to engage both with graduate fellows and his research team. His research also includes externally funded studies on brief parent interventions, substance abuse prevention, and skin cancer prevention.

The contributions of this work have been acknowledged by several organizations and national publications, including the most recent Surgeon General’s Report. Rob has also been the recipient of the Prevention Research Award from the Society for Prevention Research, the Faculty Scholar Medal from Penn State, and the Ralph Hingson Prevention Scientist Researcher of the Year Award. He serves on the Child Endangerment Expert Panel for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Rob is an active mentor and reviewer. All of his doctoral students since his joining the Penn State faculty in 2004 have received NIH F31 training fellowships. Rob has been a standing member or an ad-hoc member of NIH grant review study sections since 1988 and he regularly evaluates articles submitted to scientific journals, including Contemporary Psychology, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, and the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, among others. As an active researcher in drunk driving and substance abuse prevention topics, he has been interviewed on NBC Dateline, Good Morning America, and CBS Health Watch, and featured in USA Today.

Rob is also a lifetime member of Trout Unlimited and can be found fly-fishing when not in his lab or office.

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Prevention-related Projects

Recent Publications

What predicts willingness to experience negative consequences in college student drinkers?

Mallett, K. A., Turrisi, R., Reavy, R., Sell, N., Waldron, K. A., Scaglione, N., & Ackerman, S.D. (2022). Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 83(5), 704-711.

Long-term impact of familismo and ethnic identity on Latinx college student drinking and high-risk consequences

Waldron, K. A., Wolfe, E., Plisiewicz, A., Turrisi, Robert J., & Romano, E. (2022). Long-term impact of familismo and ethnic identity on Latinx college student drinking and high-risk consequences. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332640.2022.2082618

Examining the impact of early college experiences on the cumulative number of alcohol-related consequences

Glenn, S. D., Turrisi, R., Waldron, K. A., Mallett, K. A., Russell, M., & Reavy, R. R. (2022). Addictive Behaviors, 132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2022.107357

The effects of embedded skin cancer Interventions on sun-safety attitudes and attention paid to tan women on Instagram

Myrick, J. G., Waldron, K. A., Cohen, O., DiRusso, C., Shao, R., Cho, E., Willoughby, J. F., & Turrisi, R. (2022). The effects of embedded skin cancer Interventions on sun-safety attitudes and attention paid to tan women on Instagram. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.838297

Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine use as predictors of impaired driving and riding with an impaired driver among college students who engage in polysubstance use

Hultgren, B. A., Waldron, K. A., Mallett, K. A., & Turrisi, R. (2021). Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine use as predictors of impaired driving and riding with an impaired driver among college students who engage in polysubstance use. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2021.106341

Examining parental permissiveness toward drinking and perceived ethnic discrimination as risk factors for drinking outcomes among Latinx college students

Waldron, K.A., Turrisi, R.J., Mallett, K.A., Romano, E. (in press). Examining parental permissiveness toward drinking and perceived ethnic discrimination as risk factors for drinking outcomes among Latinx college students. Addictive Behaviors.

Are co-users of alcohol and marijuana more willing to experience consequences from drinking? A longitudinal examination among first-year college students

Linden-Carmichael, A. N., Mallett, K. A., Sell, N., & Turrisi, R. (2019). Are co-users of alcohol and marijuana more willing to experience consequences from drinking? A longitudinal examination among first-year college students. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 43, 1567-1574. https://doi.org/10.1111%2Facer.14075

An examination of consequences among college student drinkers on occasions involving alcohol-only, marijuana-only, or combined alcohol and marijuana use

Mallett, K. A., Turrisi, R., Trager, B., Sell, N., & Linden-Carmichael, A. N. (2019). An examination of consequences among college student drinkers on occasions involving alcohol-only, marijuana-only, or combined alcohol and marijuana use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(3), 331-336. doi: 10.1037/adb0000458

Evaluation of a brief dermatologist-delivered Intervention vs usual care on sun protection behavior

Mallett, K. A., Turrisi, R., Billingsley, E., Trager, B., Ackerman, S., Reavy, R., Robinson, J. K. (2018). Evaluation of a brief dermatologist-delivered Intervention vs usual care on sun protection behavior. (2018). JAMA Dermatology, 154(9), 1010-1016.

Examining parent and peer influences of alcohol use: A comparison of first-year community college and baccalaureate students

Cleveland, M.J., Turrisi, R. Reavy, R., Ackerman, S., & Buxton, O. M. (2018). Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 62(2), 64-89.

A longitudinal examination of decisions to ride and decline rides with drinking drivers

Hultgren, B. A., Turrisi, R., Mallett, K. A, Ackerman, S., Larimer, M. E., McCarthy, D., & Romano, E. (2018). Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 42(9), 1748-1755.

An examination of heavy drinking, depressed mood, drinking related constructs, and consequences among high-risk college students using a person-centered approach

Geisner, I. M., Mallett, K., Varvil-Weld, L., Ackerman, S., Trager, M., & Turrisi, R. (2018). Addictive Behaviors, 78, 22-29.

When alcohol is only part of the problem: An event-level analysis of negative consequences related to alcohol and other substance use

Mallett, K. A., Turrisi, R. J., Hultgren, B. A., Sell, N., Reavy, R., & Cleveland, M. J. (2017). When alcohol is only part of the problem: An event-level analysis of negative consequences related to alcohol and other substance use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(3), 307–314 PMCID: PMC5422123

A different view on parenting: Automatic and explicit parenting processes in adolescents’ drinking behavior.

Koning, I. M., Spruyt, A., Doornwaard, S. M., Turrisi, R. J., Heider, N., & De Houwer, J. (2017). A different view on parenting: Automatic and explicit parenting processes in adolescents' drinking behavior. Journal of Substance Use, 22(1), 96–101. https://doi.org/10.1080/14659891.2016.1217088

Self-confidence and embarrassment about partner-assisted skin self-examination for melanoma

Robinson, J. K., Hultgren, B., Mallett, K. A., & Turrisi, R. J. (2017). Self-confidence and embarrassment about partner-assisted skin self-examination for melanoma. JAMA Dermatology,153(3), 342–344. PMCID: PMC5500009

A web-based intervention to reduce indoor tanning motivations in adolescents: A randomized controlled trial

Hillhouse, J., Turrisi, R. J., Scaglione, N. M., Baker, K., Cleveland, M. J., Baker, K., & Florence, L. C. (2017). A web-based intervention to reduce indoor tanning motivations in adolescents:  A randomized controlled trial. Prevention Science, 18(2), 131–140. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0698-4

Sun protection read-along books: Assessing the feasibility of delivering the intervention in pediatrician's offices

Robinson, J. K., Andrade, A. C., Onate, A., Reidy, K., Angst, D. B., Hultgren, B. A., & Turrisi, R. J. (2017). Sun protection read-along books: Assessing the feasibility of delivering the intervention in pediatrician's offices. Pediatrics & Health Research, 2  (1–2). https://doi:10/2574-2817.100006

Enhancing the relevance of skin self-examination for Latinos

Robinson, J. K., Nodal, M., Chavez, L., Ali, Y., Mallett, K. A., & Turrisi, R. J. (2017). Enhancing the relevance of skin self-examination for Latinos. JAMA Dermatology, 153(7), 717–718. PMCID: PMC5509464.

First- and second-hand consequences of alcohol in college: Differential associations with later alcohol use

Abar, C. C., Mallett, K. A., Turrisi, R. J., & Abar, B. (2016). First- and second-hand consequences of alcohol in college: Differential associations with later alcohol use. Journal of Substance Use, 21(1), 107-111.

Drinking norms, readiness to change, and gender as moderators of a combined alcohol intervention for first-year college students

Grossbard, J. R., Mastroleo, N. R., Geisner, I. M., Atkins, D., Ray, A. E., Kilmer, J. R., Mallett, K. A., Larimer, M. E., & Turrisi, R. J. (2016). Drinking norms, readiness to change, and gender as moderators of a combined alcohol intervention for first-year college students. Addictive Behaviors, 52, 75-82.

Theory-driven longitudinal study exploring indoor tanning initiation in teens using a person-centered approach

Hillhouse, J. J., Turrisi, R. J., Cleveland, M. J., Scaglione, N. M., Baker, K., & Florence, L. C. (2016). Theory-driven longitudinal study exploring indoor tanning initiation in teens using a person-centered approach. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50(1), 48-57.

Effectiveness of a multi-component sun protection program for young children: A randomized clinical trial

Ho, B. K., Reidy, K., Huerta, I., Dilley, K., Crawford, S., Hultgren, B., Mallett, K. A., Turrisi, R. J., & Robinson, J. K. (2016). Effectiveness of a multi-component sun protection program for young children: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 170(4), 334-342.

Examining the effects of drinking and interpersonal protective behaviors on unwanted sexual experiences in college women

Sell, N. M., Turrisi, R. J., Scaglione, N. M., Hultgren, B. A., & Mallett, K. A. (2016). Examining the effects of drinking and interpersonal protective behaviors on unwanted sexual experiences in college women. Addictive Behaviors, 54, 40-45.

The Behavioral Addiction Indoor Tanning Screener (BAITS): An evaluation of a brief measure of behavioral addictive symptoms

Stapleton, J. L., Hillhouse, J., Turrisi, R. J., Baker, K., Manne, S. L., & Coups, E. J. (2016). The behavioral addiction indoor tanning screener (BAITS): An evaluation of a brief measure of behavioral addictive symptoms. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 96(4), 552-553.

Influence of quality of relationship between patient with melanoma and partner on partner-assisted skin examination education: A randomized clinical trial

Hultgren, B. A., Turrisi, R. J., Mallett, K. A., Ackerman, S. D., & Robinson, J. K. (2016). JAMA Dermatology, 152(2), 184-190.

Are all negative consequences truly negative? Assessing variations among college students' perceptions of alcohol related consequences

Mallett, K. A., Bachrach, R. L., & Turrisi, R. (2008). Are all negative consequences truly negative? Assessing variations among college students' perceptions of alcohol related consequences. Addictive Behaviors, 33(10), 1375-1381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2008.06.014 

An examination of the relationship between consequence

Reavy, R., Cleveland, M. J., Mallett, K. A., Scaglione, N. M., Sell, N. M., & Turrisi, R. J. (2016). An examination of the relationship between consequence-specific normative belief patterns and alcohol-related consequences among college students. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40(12), 2631-2638.

A parent based intervention reduces heavy episodic drinking among first

LaBrie, J. W., Earle, A. M., Boyle, S. C., Hummer, J. F., Montes, K., Turrisi, R. J., & Napper, L. E. (2016, In Press). A parent-based intervention reduces heavy episodic drinking among first year college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Early detection of new melanomas by patients with melanoma and their partners using a structured skin self examination skills

Robinson, J. K., Wayne, J. D., Martini, M. C., Hultgren, B. A., Mallett, K. A., & Turrisi, R. J. (2016). Early detection of new melanomas by patients with melanoma and their partners using a structured skin self examination skills training intervention: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Dermatology, 152(9), 979-985.

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Single-parent households make up approximately 1/3 of U.S. households, and many adolescent children of single parents are at significant risk of engaging in risky drinking behaviors, according to a new article by Racheal Reavy, Rob Turrisi, and Kimberly Mallett in the Journal of Adolescent Health. However, the authors found that while parent-based interventions have a potentially powerful role to play in reducing the scope of the adolescent drinking problem, their content focuses primarily the parenting behavior of two-parent households.

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Preventing risky drinking by college students the focus of new Penn State study

University Park, Pa. -- Is there a simple way for parents to reduce the chance of their college-age children having problems resulting from drinking alcohol? Professor of Biobehavioral Health Robert Turrisi was recently awarded a 5-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to determine whether brief interviews with randomly selected parents of incoming Penn State University Park students will result in less risky drinking and associated negative consequences.

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