Robert Waldinger

Robert Waldinger
Harvard Medical School | HMS · Department of Psychiatry

Doctor of Medicine

About

67
Publications
23,669
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2,130
Citations
Citations since 2016
12 Research Items
1150 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200

Publications

Publications (67)
Article
Past research suggests that higher coherence between feelings and physiology under stress may confer regulatory advantages. Research and theory also suggest that higher resting vagal tone (rVT) may promote more adaptive responses to stress. The present study examines the roles of response system coherence (RSC; defined as the within-individual cova...
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Objectives Mindfulness has been linked to better emotion regulation and more adaptive responses to stress across a number of studies, but the mechanisms underlying these links remain to be fully understood. The present study examines links between trait mindfulness (Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire; FFMQ) and participants’ responses to comm...
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Previous measures of childhood adversity have enabled the identification of powerful links with later-life wellbeing. The challenge for the next generation of childhood adversity assessment is to better characterize those links through comprehensive, fine-grained measurement strategies. The expanded, retrospective measure of childhood adversity pre...
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Most research examining the consequences of suppressing emotional expression has focused on either experimentally manipulated and conscious suppression, or self-reported suppression behavior. This study examined suppression as it naturally occurred in couple (n = 105) discussions regarding a challenging topic. A Suppression Index (SI) was created b...
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The current study examined whether reliance on more adaptive defense mechanisms throughout early adulthood may help explain previously documented relationships between childhood nurturance and better midlife functioning. Utilizing a unique longitudinal study, data were from age 18 through midlife (age 63) on 135 males. Childhood nurturance was asse...
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Although healthy physician-patient boundaries are essential to medical practice, published research on how to teach this important topic to medical students is lacking. Physician-patient boundaries, the interpersonal limits placed on behavior within a clinical relationship, protect providers and patients alike, and they represent a key component of...
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Aspects of social support during combat deployment, such as unit cohesion, have been shown to affect later posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) development among veterans. We utilized a longitudinal database to assess how relationship quality with fellow soldiers in World War II (WWII) might be linked with postwar PTSD symptoms. Data were available...
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The present study examines changes in defense maturity from mid to late life using data from an over 70-year longitudinal study. A sample of 72 men was followed beginning in late adolescence. Participants' childhoods were coded for emotional warmth. Defense mechanisms were coded by independent raters using the Q-Sort of Defenses (Roston et al., 199...
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Objective: Identifying adaptive ways to cope with extreme stress is essential to promoting long-term health. Memory systems are highly sensitive to stress, and combat exposure during war has been shown to have deleterious effects on cognitive processes, such as memory, decades later. No studies have examined coping styles used by combat veterans a...
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Does the warmth of children’s family environments predict the quality of their intimate relationships at the other end of the life span? Using data collected prospectively on 81 men from adolescence through the eighth and ninth decades of life, this study tested the hypotheses that warmer relationships with parents in childhood predict greater secu...
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Erikson's (1950) model of adult psychosocial development outlines the significance of successful involvement within one's relationships, work, and community for healthy aging. He theorized that the consequences of not meeting developmental challenges included stagnation and emotional despair. Drawing on this model, the present study uses prospectiv...
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This study examined the link between experiencing multiple types of child maltreatment and intentions to control emotion during charged discussions with intimate partners in adulthood, and whether the link is mediated by intensity of negative emotions. Using video recall, 97 couples rated their levels of emotions and intentions to control emotion d...
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The authors examined links between intimate partner aggression and empathic accuracy—how accurately partners can read one another's emotions—during highly affective moments from couples' (N = 109) video recall of laboratory-based discussions of upsetting events. Less empathic accuracy between partners was generally related to higher levels of aggre...
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Objectives This study aimed to examine the possible antecedents of both dementia and sustained intact cognition at age 90 years among men who underwent a prospective, multidisciplinary assessment from ages 19 to 90 years, with little attrition.Methods We conducted a prospective 20-year reassessment of 196 (out of 268) former Harvard college sophomo...
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Research linking childhood emotional abuse (CEA) and adult marital satisfaction has focused on individuals without sufficient attention to couple processes. Less attention has also been paid to the effects of CEA on the ability to read other's emotions, and how this may be related to satisfaction in intimate relationships. In this study, 156 couple...
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Objectives: Prior studies confirm that after experiencing childhood adversity, resilient adults can recover and engage in generative growth. This study explored the long-term effects of childhood adversity (assessed as harsh parenting and/or childhood poverty) on successful aging for individuals who either achieved or failed to achieve Erikson's p...
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Prior studies have shown that perceived health status is a consistent and reliable predictor of morbidity and mortality. Because perceived health status and objective health are not highly correlated, we sought to identify additional factors that shape self-perceptions of health. Research suggests that childhood experience is an important predictor...
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Social ties are powerful predictors of late-life health and well-being. Although many adults maintain intimate partnerships into late life, little is known about mental models of attachment to spouses and how they influence aging. A total of 81 elderly heterosexual couples (162 individuals) were interviewed to examine the structure of attachment se...
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A growing body of research suggests that personality characteristics relate to physical health; however, this relation ship has primarily been tested in cross-sectional studies that have not followed the participants into old age. The present study utilizes data from a 70-year longitudinal study to prospectively examine the relationship between the...
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Although research has shown links between borderline personality and intimate partner violence (IPV), few studies have examined how each partner's personality traits may influence the other's behavior (Hines, 2008). This study incorporated dimensional assessments of borderline personality organization (BPO) in both partners into a dyadic model that...
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Using data on veterans from the longitudinal Harvard Study of Adult Development (N=241), we focused on subjective aspects of military service. We examined how veterans of World War II appraised specific dimensions of military service directly after the war and over 40 years later, as well as the role of military service in their life course. In add...
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Research linking childhood physical abuse (CPA) and adult intimate partner aggression (IPA) has focused on individuals without sufficient attention to couple processes. In this study, 109 couples reported on histories of CPA, IPA, and anger expression. Actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) was used to examine links between CPA and revictimizat...
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This study examined links between two distinct facets of empathy-empathic accuracy and perceived empathic effort-and one's own and one's partner's relationship satisfaction. Using a video recall procedure, participants (n = 156 couples in committed relationships) reported on their own emotions and their perceptions of partners' emotions and partner...
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Research in the U.S. has shown strong connections between insecure attachment in close relationships and somatization. In addition, studies have demonstrated connections between somatic symptoms and anger experience and expression. In this study, we integrate perspectives from these two literatures by testing the hypothesis that proneness to anger...
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This study examines whether differences in late-life well-being are linked to how older adults encode emotionally valenced information. Using fMRI with 39 older adults varying in life satisfaction, we examined how viewing positive and negative images would affect activation and connectivity of an emotion-processing network. Participants engaged mos...
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Adverse child environments are associated with the onset of mood and anxiety disorders in adulthood. The mechanisms underlying these life-course associations remain poorly understood. We investigate whether emotional reactivity to stress is a mechanism in the association between childhood environment characteristics and adult mood and anxiety disor...
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Defenses that keep threatening information out of awareness are posited to reduce anxiety at the cost of longer-term dysfunction. By contrast, socioemotional selectivity theory suggests that preference for positively-valenced information is a late-life manifestation of adaptive emotion regulation. Using longitudinal data on 61 men, we examined link...
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This study assessed lifetime histories of discrete spiritual experiences recalled by 144 octogenarian men studied since adolescence and 80 spouses. Women were more likely to report discrete spiritual experiences, as were those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those judged more open to experience as young adults. Factor analysis revealed fo...
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This study examined day-to-day links between perceived health and happiness and between time spent with others and happiness in 47 older adult couples over an 8-day period. Marital satisfaction and time spent with others were explored as potential moderators of links between health and happiness. For both men and women, hierarchical linear modeling...
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This study extends research on the association between smoking behavior and chronic disease by following a cohort from the time of initiation of regular smoking patterns into old age and by examining the association of lifetime smoking trajectories with chronic disease and mortality. Participants consisted of 232 males selected from the Harvard cla...
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To test the social learning-based hypothesis that marital conflict resolution patterns are learned in the family of origin, longitudinal, observational data were used to assess prospective associations between family conflict interaction patterns during adolescence and offspring's later marital conflict interaction patterns. At age 14 years, 47 par...
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The authors examined the quality of sibling relationships in childhood as a predictor of major depression in adulthood. Study subjects were 229 men selected for mental and physical health and followed from ages 20 through 50 and beyond as part of a study of adult psychosocial development. Data were obtained from interviews with participants and the...
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This study examined the role of emotion and relationship satisfaction in shaping attributions about a partner's intentions in couple interactions. Using video recall, participants (N = 156 couples) reported on their own and their partner's intentions and emotions during affective moments of a discussion about an upsetting event. Links were found be...
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This study tested whether insecure attachment mediates the link between childhood trauma and adult somatization. A community sample of 101 couples completed self-report measures, including the Relationship Scales Questionnaire, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, the Somatic Symptom Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Conflict Tactics...
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Comments on the article by D. Westen and J. Weinberger (see record 2004-19091-002 ), which explored the benefits and limitations of clinical observation and judgment. Westen and Weinberger identify two categories of informants--clinicians and participants--but these categories could be expanded to include other observers who might have particular e...
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Within-family covariation between interparental hostility and adolescent behavior across three interactions over a 2-year period was explored in a sample that included 37 typical adolescents and 35 adolescents recently hospitalized for psychiatric difficulties. More interparental hostility across the three interactions was associated with more adol...
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This study examined links between emotion expression in couple interactions and marital quality and stability. Core aspects of emotion expression in marital interactions were identified with the use of naive observational coding by multiple raters. Judges rated 47 marital discussions with 15 emotion descriptors. Coders' pooled ratings yielded good...
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This study examines links between attachment states of mind and relationship schemas in a sample of 40 young adults, half of whom were hospitalized as adolescents for psychiatric treatment. Participants were interviewed about their closest relationships, and, using the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme method, their narratives about these relatio...
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Relationship schemas are core elements of personality that guide interpersonal functioning. The aim of this study is to examine stability and change in relationship schemas across two developmental epochs-adolescence and young adulthood-in the stories that people tell about their interactions with others. Using the Core Conflictual Relationship The...
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This study examined whether the predominance of particular themes in maltreated pre-schoolers’ stories about relationships is related to type of maltreatment they experienced. The MacArthur Story Stem Battery was administered to 49 maltreated and 22 non-maltreated children. Children’s representations of self and other were extracted from the result...
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A total of 99 female patients consecutively admitted to an adult psychiatric outpatient clinic were surveyed about their history of physical and sexual abuse. Sixty-five percent of this sample reported having been physically abused, sexually abused, or both during their lifetimes. Scores on the Dissociative Experiences Scale were significantly high...
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This review examines the role of psychodynamic concepts in the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. The author discusses the current status of psychodynamic diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and outlines those psychodynamic features of borderline personality upon which most contemporary theorists agree. Psychodynamic concepts ad...
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The authors offer guidelines for research on the first stages of long-term dynamic psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder. On the basis of five successfully treated cases, the authors outline methods for measuring the effectiveness, at different points in therapy, of psychotherapeutic treatment for borderline personality disorder.
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This paper discusses the psychodynamics of medication use by borderline patients who are involved in ongoing psychotherapy. Particular attention must be paid to the transference reactions that these patients have to the therapist and to the medication, and to countertransference responses as well. Shifts in the transference must be monitored, as ra...
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Combining pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy in the treatment of borderline personality disorder is increasingly common, yet the experiences of clinicians who use the two modalities have not been studied. Forty psychotherapists were surveyed about their prescribing practices with borderline patients. Results corroborate the clinical impression that...
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Evocation des dynamiques psychiques de l'usage de medications chez des patients «Borderline» en cours de psychotherapie. Attention portee aux reactions de transfert envers le therapeute et la medication ainsi qu'au contre transfert. Les changements survenants dans le transfert doivent etre accompagnes. Exemples illustrant la complexite du processus...
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The author reviews major controversies in the literature regarding techniques of intensive psychodynamic therapy with borderline patients. These include debates about the importance of content versus process in the therapist's early interventions, the origins of transference, the primacy of positive versus negative transference in therapeutic work,...
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Discusses the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Common clinical problems of borderline patients include chronic anxiety and depression, suicide threats or gestures, impulsive behavior, hypochondriasis, and eating disorders. It is difficult to make a diagnosis of BPD in family practice because symptoms such as anxiety, bulimia, and...
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Retrospective assessments of the type and outcome of psychotherapy with seventy-eight borderline patients were obtained from eleven experienced therapists. Differences in outcome based on length and type of treatment and amount of previous treatment, and differences in patterns of termination were reported and discussed.
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The results of studies on 309 samples of urine from 103 patients taking methadone as tested by 4 commercially available pregnancy tests are reported. Urine specimens were subjected to 2 hemagglutination-inhibition tube bests (UCG and Pregnosticon) and 2 latex agglutination-inhibition slide tests (Cravindex and Pregnosticon). Thin-layer chromatograp...
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Thesis (A.B., Honors)--Harvard University, 1973.

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