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Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.
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Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and author. Most recently he co-authored (with Dr. Barbara Okun) "Saying Goodbye: How Families Can Find Renewal through Loss" (Penguin/Harvard Health Publications).

Connect with him and learn more at

Entries by Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D.

Why It's Better to Trust Others

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 10:17 AM

A Culture of Distrust?

According to PEW Research the percentage of Americans who say they trust the government to do the right thing on their behalf has fallen from 73 percent in 1958 to just 19 percent in 2013. What was going on in 1958?...

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Internet Infidelity: When a Poke Is More Than a Poke

(1) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 12:56 PM

The Internet age has transformed human communication. Today few of us, myself included, would feel comfortable being "off the grid" for any significant period of time. And speaking or myself, I've experienced a wave of anxiety more than once when I realized that I'd left my cell phone at home....

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Is Online Video Gaming a Haven for the Insecure?

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 11:38 AM

Online gaming, along with social media sites such as Facebook, have proliferated exponentially, both in terms of their numbers of users and their sophistication, especially among youths and young adults. With respect to online gaming, the erstwhile "first person shooter," as well as interactive games played in the same room...

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Social Networking and the 'Back Burner' Phenomenon

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 4:51 PM

In his biography of President Warren Harding, The Harding Affair, author James David Robenalt reveals a number of rather steamy love letters written by Harding, who was married, to Carrie Philips, his acquaintance -- and eventual lover -- of 15 years (and which affair ended just before his inauguration).


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How We Use Social Networking, Part 4: Are You Socially Anxious or Avoidant?

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 12:33 PM

Psychologists have long been interested in the concept of attachment, which has its origins in childhood experiences, primarily with those who raise us. Being raised in a family where nurturance is combined about equally with structure creates what are called secure parent-child (or caregiver-child) attachments. The secure child, in turn,...

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'Recovering Alcoholic': Words That Stigmatize or Empower?

(3) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 4:37 PM

If you hear someone say that they are a "recovering alcoholic" or a "recovering addict" how do you react? Can you imagine yourself saying such words, and if so how would you expect others to react?

There is no doubt that the concept of alcoholism has long been associated with...

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How We Use Social Networking, Part 3: The FoMO Effect

(2) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 11:10 AM


Fear of Missing out, popularly referred to as FoMO, is defined as a pervasive apprehension that others might have rewarding experiences from which one is absent. FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. FoMO is most common in those who have...
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How We Use Social Networking and Why: Part 2

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 11:09 AM

In my previous blog I explored the relationship between individuals' attachment styles and their use of social network sites such as Facebook. This blog will look into a second study that sheds important light on how and why people use social networking. First, however, let's review the basics of attachment...

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How We Use Social Networking and Why: Part 1

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 7:42 AM

Over the past decade, social networking (SN) through sites such as Facebook, has become a ubiquitous, but not entirely positive part of many lives. As a therapist, for example, I've heard my share of tales of disappointment, and sometimes even outrage, from clients who have felt burned by one or...

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Can Family Conflict Drive Teen Girls to Drink?

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 10:00 AM

Consider the following statistics:

• 15 percent of 16-year-olds report drinking five or more drinks on one occasion on a fairly regular basis. For 18-year-olds, that figure increases to 22 percent.

• 38 percent of women who are raped are between the ages of 14 and 17 (

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'Frontloading' Among College Students: Motivations and Consequences

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 1:03 PM

'Frontloading,' 'Pre-partying' and 'Pre-gaming'

The above terms all refer to the same behavior among college students, namely drinking in advance of a social occasion in order to get a "head start" on becoming intoxicated. It turns out that this is not such an uncommon behavior on college and...

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A New Look at 'Low-Risk' Drinking

(4) Comments | Posted September 8, 2013 | 2:42 PM

The risks vs. benefits of so-called "moderate" drinking continue to be controversial. Even a respected organization such as the Mayo Clinic offers cautious advice:

Drinking alcohol may offer some benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage...
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Childhood Trauma and Adult Alcohol Abuse: Shedding Light on the Connection

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 10:01 AM

New Research on Childhood Abuse and Adult Drinking Problems

A study reported in the June 2013 edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (Schwandt, M. L., Heilig, M., Hommer, D. W., George, D. T. and Ramchandani, V. A. (2013), Childhood Trauma Exposure and Alcohol Dependence Severity...

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Drinking Can Kill You -- Especially If You're a Woman!

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 10:33 AM

Most of us intuitively know that people who drink to excess -- in particular, those men and women whose drinking qualifies them for a diagnosis of alcoholism -- suffer from severe consequences, including health consequences. This was confirmed, not intuitively but using hard data, in a study conducted in Germany...

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Are Alcoholism and Addiction in Our Blood?

(3) Comments | Posted May 23, 2013 | 5:43 PM

Much attention is being paid these days to the role that genetics plays in health and illness. The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, succeeded in identifying all of the genes in human DNA. That achievement, combined with ongoing research into the relationship between genes, illness, and disease,...

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Do You and Your Spouse Argue Over Drinking? How to Avoid Armageddon

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 12:12 PM

Over my 25 years of experience as a psychologist, I gradually came to realize that drinking may be one of the most common yet least talked about causes of marital conflict. Unfortunately, in the couples I've worked with this issue is often swept under the carpet. And when it does...

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Unexplained Symptoms? It's Not Necessarily 'All in Your Head'

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 2:18 PM

Matt, a 35-year-old sales executive, considered himself successful -- at least in his work. Divorced and the father of an 8-year-old daughter, Matt spent a lot of time on the road, so much so that he said, "I think of airports as my office." He was as "connected" as anyone...

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Psychiatry Takes a Step Forward in Understanding Alcoholism

(26) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 1:48 PM

For the past five years a task force appointed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been busy working on the first revision of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in 15 years. The reason that DSM is so important is that it is widely regarded as the gold standard...

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Almost Alcoholic?

(9) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 11:55 AM

What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, a government-appointed independent panel of experts, just issued a report and an advisory that all sensible men and women would do well to take heed of. This panel reviewed a large body of research...

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'Almost Alcoholic': Diagnostic Overreach or Fair Warning?

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2012 | 4:21 PM

Grieving the Loss of a Drinking Buddy

In an article recently published in the New York Times titled "A Glass All Empty," the writer Elissa Schappell poignantly described the dismay she experienced after her husband Rob decided to quit drinking. According to Elissa, Rob has never considered himself...

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