Since joining PIRE, Deborah A. Fisher, PhD, has been involved in a wide array of projects including basic research, program evaluations, policy analyses, and the development of documents translating science to practice. Her research has focused in three main areas: traffic safety, adolescent risk taking, and evaluations of programs and policies to reduce harmful behaviors.
In the traffic safety area, Dr. Fisher has worked on studies evaluating the effects of policies, their enforcement, and various community interventions to prevent impaired driving. She has led studies of the feasibility of implementing 24/7 breath testing programs for repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders in urban areas, citizens’ Call 9-1-1 programs for reporting suspected impaired drivers, and privatization of alcohol sales. She has also engaged in qualitative and quantitative research on community DUI task forces, the use of alcohol ignition interlocks with first offenders, and the effects of community responsible beverage service programs and enforcement on reducing impaired driving in young adults aged 21 to 34. She was part of a team of investigators that examined the effect on youth traffic fatalities of various provisions of States’ underage drinking and impaired driving laws and was responsible for developing and applying a coding system to qualitatively assess the laws.
Dr. Fisher has a strong interest in developmental patterns in and influences on adolescent risk taking. She served as Co-PI on PIRE’s NICHD-funded project on exposure to sexual messages on television and youths’ sexuality. For this project, she directed the annual content analyses of television programming that were used to create the exposure measures for examining media and other influences on adolescents’ self-reported sexual attitudes and behaviors. She was also part of a research team studying the effects of school-based health centers (SBHCs) as a structural intervention for mitigating sexual and other risk taking among teens. This research included several studies of the role of SBHCs in reducing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and depression and suicide risk among sexual minority youth.
More recently, Dr. Fisher has been part of HBSA’s measurement and evaluation team for the ongoing Global Smart Drinking Goals initiative. This project examines the combined efforts of one of the world’s largest brewers and the six international sites funded to implement interventions to reduce harmful drinking (including underage drinking and heavy drinking) and associated consequences (e.g., impaired driving) by 10% by 2020.
Ali, B., Fisher, D. A., Miller, T. R., Lawrence, B. A., Spicer, R. S., Swedler, D. I., & Allison, J. (2019). Trends in drug poisoning deaths among adolescents and young adults in the United States, 2006–2015. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 80(2), 201-210. PMCID: PMC6489543. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2019.80.201
Fisher, D. A. (2018). Content analysis of alcohol-impaired driving stories in the news. In S. Teutsch, A. Geller, & Y. Negussie (Eds.), Getting to zero alcohol-impaired driving fatalities: A comprehensive approach to a persistent problem (pp. 447-476). Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Zhang, L., Finan, L. J., Bersamin, M., & Fisher, D. A. (2018). Sexual orientation-based depression and suicidality health disparities: The protective role of school-based health centers. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 30 Suppl 1, 134-142. PMCID: PMC6430702. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12454
Voas, R. B., Tippetts, S. S., Fisher, D., & Grosz, M. (2010). Requiring suspended drunk drivers to install alcohol interlocks to reinstate their licenses: Effective? Addiction, 105(8), 1422-1428. PMCID: PMC4441036. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02987.x
Fisher, D. A., Hill, D. L., Grube, J. W., Bersamin, M. M., Walker, S., & Gruber, E. L. (2009). Televised sexual content and parental mediation: Influences on adolescent sexuality. Media Psychology, 12(2), 121-147. PMCID: PMC3086268. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213260902849901