Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)


Brief Bio

Dr. Rohsenow is professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, associate director of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University, and formerly a senior research career scientist at the Providence VA Medical Center. She is co-director of a postdoctoral T32 training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse on Substance Abuse Intervention Outcome Research in its fifth five-year period. She has published hundreds of scholarly articles and chapters primarily in the area of substance use and abuse, and co-authored the second edition of the book, Treating Alcohol Dependence. Over the past four decades, her work has focused on studying basic processes and conducting treatment outcome studies for addictive disorders including smoking, alcohol abuse, and cocaine abuse, using both behavioral and pharmacologic approaches. 

She is currently multiple principal investigator on a study as part of the HEAL initiative to implement medication for opioid use disorder in criminal justice settings, and to investigate the added benefit of peer specialists. This large multi-site study will implement medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence in probation and parole settings across three states, to reduce opioid-related deaths in this vulnerable population with a high percentage of minorities. 

Dr. Rohsenow has a program of research on treatments for smokers with alcohol and/or drug use disorders. She recently completed a study comparing very low nicotine products to normal nicotine cigarettes for effects on toxicity, depression, relapse, and ability to quit smoking. Before that she completed NIDA-funded trials (1) to evaluate contingent vouchers (incentives) for smoking abstinence when added to nicotine replacement and to an intervention to motivate substance abusers to quit smoking; and (2) to evaluate the efficacy of the medication varenicline for smoking abstinence among substance dependent patients who smoke. She completed a study of the effects of a new medication (baclofen) on tobacco withdrawal and smoking cue reactivity; a study of the effects of ondansetron crossed with high dose naltrexone on drinking urges among abstinent alcoholics and on reactions to alcohol ingestion among alcoholic drinkers not seeking treatment, as moderated by promising individual difference variables (genetic and history); and several studies of the efficacy of motivational intervention, brief advice to quit smoking to encourage smoking cessation, and contingent vouchers among smokers with alcohol or substance dependence in residential treatment.

Primary ongoing collaborations have been with two underserved populations: 1) She has worked on a series of studies to develop culturally adapted motivational interviewing for heavy drinking among Latinx, focused on understanding the role that immigration stress and discrimination stress play in drinking problems. (2) She is collaborating on a pilot study of an intervention to reduce drinking in response to discrimination stress in Black Americans who drink.

She was also co-investigator on grants investigating medication or smoking effects on urges and drinking of social drinkers in the lab or natural environment, effects of smoking medications on responses of schizophrenic smokers, and several grants with current or former postdoctoral fellows. Recently, she collaborated on a study using machine-learning to design an app to detect intoxication via gait and on a series of lab investigations for early medications testing for alcohol use disorder. Earlier, she collaborated studies of the acute and residual effects of caffeinated beer on driving performance and sleep disruption, hangover as a predictor of post-college transition out of heavy drinking, and the role of smoking in hangover intensity. She completed various grant-funded studies of the effects of hangover on maritime ship handling, neuropsychological abilities, sleep, and academic performance, after developing an acute hangover scale for use in laboratory investigations. 

Mentoring experience: 
Dr. Rohsenow is Co-Director of the CAAS's T32 postdoctoral training grant from NIDA on substance abuse intervention outcome research, and serves on the training committee for the Center's NIAAA-funded postdoctoral training grant on alcohol intervention research. The combined T32 program that she serves on has 12-14 fellows in training each year with a variety of seminars and training opportunities. In recent years she mentored a variety of faculty with a career development awards, numerous psychology residents in research placements, and postdoctoral fellows in clinical research training.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas