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Christine B. Whelan :
214 article(s)

Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
July 22nd, 2010

Dr Jason Halford tells MedicalNewsToday
Anti-obesity drugs haven’t successfully tackled the wider issues of obesity because they’ve been focused predominantly on weight loss. Obesity is the result of many motivational factors that have evolved to encourage us to eat, not least our susceptibility to the attractions of food and the pleasures of eating energy rich foods – factors which are, of course, all too effectively exploited by food manufacturers.
He continued:
As psychological factors are critical to the development of obesity, drug companies should take them into consideration when designing new drug therapies. We’ve learned a great deal about the neurochemical systems…

July 20th, 2010

I’m fascinated with ambition–and people’s reaction to other folks who want to succeed. Remember a few months back when Kate Gosselin was being criticized for leaving her eight children with nannies to appear on “Dancing with the Stars.” Media reports asked whether her ambitions of fame getting in the way of being a good Mom.
While it’s unlike me to defend the overly dramatic, in-the-spotlight poor parenting of Jon & Kate, that  hubbub got me simmering once more on a fascinating — and thorny — question about ambition: Is it a vice or a virtue?
Asks Atlanta Journal-Constitution… blogger Theresa Walsh Giarrusso
If Kate is being criticized for her ambition

July 15th, 2010

If Joe the Camel cigarette ads were geared toward the guys, Camel’s recent ads are targeted straight at teenage girls, say anti-smoking activists. I mean, they’re pink, for heaven’s sake. And a clear play on Chanel’s perfume.
So that’s bad. But what seems even crazier to me is that, at the same time as the tobacco companies are marketing a dangerous product to young women, there are other young women who are fighting against what seems to be a much safer substitute: e-cigarettes.
Mara Zrzavy, a 16-year-old high-school student joined with other activists to encourage New Hampshire to ban the use of e-cigarettes by minors. Her argument is that kids who wouldn’t otherwise…

July 13th, 2010

Recently I blogged about myopic choice–and how, just like Wall Street traders, we’re all pulled into making short-sighted decisions that compromise our future interests. And I think I left everyone feeling a bit depressed about our inability to make good choices. So, I’m back with some good news, borrowed once again from behavioral economics and psychology: We can prevent those myopic choices from ruling our lives. How? By setting up commitment strategies.
A commitment strategy is one way in which we trick ourselves into overriding our urge to make myopic choices.
A simple example is the alarm clock: When you set your alarm clock at 11 p.m. as you go to bed, you do it because you know you have…

July 8th, 2010

I don’t know a lot about finance. Indeed, my brain usually turns off when I hear about structured finance or BBB-rated bonds. But after the market crashed in 2007-8 because of … well… bad things, I knew I needed to learn more.

If you haven’t read Michael Lewis’s new book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine…, get yourself a copy and get to it. It’s the best explanation for the Great Recession — and the various vices and virtues at play — that I’ve read.
Lewis makes the argument that traders and Wall Street executives – smart men and women – were being rewarded with fast, big money for making short-sighted decisions that, had they studied

June 27th, 2010
A discussion with the co-founder of The King's Men

In the July/August issue of The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin asks if “The End of Men” is upon us. She argues women — with increasingly greater levels of education and more resilient jobs in this economic recession — are going to take charge, making men the second sex. Our quest for gender equality has led to women zooming ahead, leaving men in the dust. Is that true?
I’ve blogged about my thoughts on this article — and various other pieces that encourage misandry and diminish the role of men — but back in April, I met Damian Wargo, co-founder and director of The King’s Men, a men’s ministry group based in Philadelphia, who is an expert on these issues.
He and I met in…

June 19th, 2010

Man-bashing has become a sport.  And in recent weeks, one study even questioned whether fathers are necessary for raising kids at all.  So perhaps it’s no surprise that fewer people think celebrating Father’s Day is as important as celebrating Mother’s Day, according to a Rasmussen poll.
June 20, 2010 is the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day. Let’s take a moment to celebrate fathers — and men who act with self-control and responsibility generally.

There are nearly 70 million fathers in the U.S., and more than 30 million have kids under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Census.
Mr. Mom is a reality for a quarter of all families with young children…: Some 24 percent of the

June 17th, 2010

We generally understand how a virus or flu spreads: I’m sick and I shake hands with you. Then, you touch your nose and… oops, now you’re sick, too. Then you kiss your husband and… oops, now he’s sick, too. And so on. But in recent years, social scientists have begun to consider whether behaviors and character traits can spread in a similar way. Are vices and virtues socially contagious?
A while back, we learned that obesity is contagious: Researchers Nicholas Christakis, a medical sociologist, and James Fowler, a political science professor, found that we’re more likely to gain weight ourselves if our family and friends gain weight. Similarly, we’re more likely…

June 14th, 2010
Our Pure Sex, Pure Love columnist on her new blog

Vice and sin are sexy.
Character and virtue… not so much.
But where’s the line between them? What exactly is a virtue? Can it be taught? Are good, and bad, behavior hard-wired in us?
Loyal Busted Halo readers know me as the author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love dating and relationships column. And while researching trends in mate preferences and marriage is still a big focus of me, I’ve always had another academic love: self-improvement, character and the quest for a virtuous, fulfilled life.
And would you believe… there’s a big, venerable foundation devoted to the study of just those things? The John Templeton Foundation is devoted to studying “big questions” of human…

June 1st, 2010
Some social scientists argue that it is

Today, the median age of marriage is 26 for women and 28 for men. Is that too old?
An increasingly vocal group of social commentators are concerned that by delaying marriage until our mid-to-late-20s or early 30s, we’re encouraging behaviors like premarital sex and cohabitation that are undermining the success of our unions. In a provocative piece in the September issue of U.S. Catholic, John Van Epp, PhD, president of LoveThinks, LLC, and author of How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk…, argues that young adults should stop delaying — and start searching for a spouse sooner rather than later.
In principle, I agree. Being proactive about the search for a spouse is a good thing. I’m thrilled to celebrate

May 17th, 2010
What exactly is it? What is the perception of the frequency? What is the reality?

What is a hook up?
As a not-that-old, not-that-out-of-touch college professor who teaches classes on the sociology of marriage, family and gender, this is one of my favorite questions to ask a class of undergraduates for three reasons: It wakes ‘em up; everyone is interested in the answer; and it stirs up quite a debate.
But in the three years I’ve been asking this question, there’s never been a class consensus. Some students tell me it’s sexual intercourse, with a zero-to-sex pick-up speed, within hours (and many beers) of a first meeting. Others tell me hooking up means making out or kissing, and might not happen until two people have hung out together in a group of friends for a while.…

May 3rd, 2010
More on deciphering the meaning of who pays on dates

If a woman insists on paying for her $3 coffee when she’s on a first date with a guy, does that mean she’s probably not that into him? Longtime Busted Halo reader, Phil, wrote in with that question a few weeks back — read the original piece here — and you replied with some great comments:
“The reciprocity heuristic is pretty hard-wired into most people… [and] for a dating female, the stakes are higher,” counsels Karen. “I pay my own way, and find ways to get to know you to see how I like you. By the way, I work to stay even on a gesture-for-gesture basis, not strictly dollar-for-dollar. So: you get the movie tickets, I’ll get the popcorn and soda. Please, please do not be…

April 19th, 2010
Women aren't the only ones wondering whether their date is really "into" them

I recently received this note from long-time Pure Sex, Pure Love reader, Phil, a 26-year-old in Iowa. In a previous column, I’d suggested to readers that simple body language is a good way to tell if someone is interested in you. Phil took that test to the next level and asked: If a woman refuses to let me pay for her coffee on a first date, is she sending me a signal that she’s not interested?
Hi Dr. Whelan,
I think that I have found a variant of the salt shaker test. As you have written in your column, that is when you are on a first date and you put a salt shaker (or something like that) on your date’s side of the table. From what I recall, how they react is suppose to indicate whether they are into you.
If they…

April 5th, 2010
A reader asks whether she should become Catholic for her boyfriend

A few weeks back, a reader wrote in with a powerful question: She had been drawn to the Catholic Church because of her boyfriend. Should she convert without a promise of marriage?
Rakti has been dating her boyfriend for five years, since she was 19 and he was 21. Rakti is Hindu, and her boyfriend, Mark, is Catholic. While Rakti was in college, she began to question elements of her Hindu faith. “After a lot of reading, research, investigation and time I knew in my heart that what I had been raised in wasn’t the truth,” she writes.
From the start of their relationship, Rakti and Mark had discussed religion at length. She even started attending Mass with him, but after a certain point, both she and Mark…

March 22nd, 2010
A new social history says that the women were given the burden for making 20th century marriages work. Whose responsibility is it today?

If I told you that “relationships take work,” you’d roll your eyes. That’s so obvious to all of us in 2010 that it barely counts as advice.
Right?
With thousands of relationship self-help guides in print, daytime talk shows featuring advice on achieving better sex, compatibility and romance, and government funding for marriage preparation and education initiatives, the belief that relationships take work is firmly embedded in the modern consciousness.
The “relationship expert” — be it Dr. Phil McGraw with his televised tough-love guidance for couples on the rocks, or specially trained marriage and family psychologists — holds a central place in the…

March 8th, 2010
Shattering some age-old myths in under a minute

If you scanned the bookshelves in my office, you’d think I have a lot of problems: I’ve got books on how to find a date, have a good relationship and save a failing marriage. I’ve got guides to losing weight, overcoming anger, learning how to pray and finding one’s inner child. There are manuals for self-control, motivation, happiness and overcoming grief. In my own defense, though, I have a good excuse: I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the increasing popularity of self-help books, and in the years since then, I’ve been both a vocal critic and supporter of the $11 billion personal improvement industry.
So when a respected psychologist and myth-busting author comes out with…

February 22nd, 2010
On its 5th anniversary, Christine Whelan discusses the purpose of Pure Sex, Pure Love

Two weeks ago I wrote a column based on the book A Little Bit Married…, a guide for couples in long-term relationships. In it, I hoped to offer some practical real-world advice for spiritual seekers who have been dating for years, and those who are living together or considering cohabitation as a trial run for marriage. Since we all know someone who fits this description, I thought it was a useful book full of research-based advice — and I was eager to hear how young-adult Catholics, and seekers of all faiths, might respond to my spin on the book: Living together isn’t the solution to a happy, long-lasting relationship… but honest communication is.
All of us know the “rules” about no sex before

December 31st, 2009
And You Probably Don't Know His Name

Quick — can you give me the latest on the divorce drama between Jon & Kate Gosselin? Or why Paula Abdul isn’t going to be judging this year’s American Idol? Odds are you can answer those questions but you can’t tell me the name of the man who died recently after saving more than a billion lives.
I’ll give you another hint: He was one of only six people ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
You can probably name most of the other five recipients of this trio of honors — Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi — but odds are you’ve never heard this man’s…

December 28th, 2009
You're not alone. Some strategies and ideas for change.

A new CatholicMatch.com poll has given us some data to prove what we already know: The holidays are a tough time to be single. Among more than 3,700 online CatholicMatch users polled in the December survey, 40% said that Christmas was the roughest time of the year to be unhitched… with New Year’s Eve a close second with 32% putting it in the number one “ugh” slot.
“I think all holidays are bad without someone special to share them with, but I have my family for most of them,” reported Michelle-407188. “I would have to say the worst is New Years. New Years is for being with close friends! It is way more fun to share it with someone special than alone!”
Women were slightly more likely to vote their solo New Year’s…

December 20th, 2009
We asked... and you came through

Wow, you guys are amazing!!
With the outpouring of support from Busted Halo readers earlier this month, on December 16 we found out that Tiyatien Health won the grand prize in the Ashoka Changemakers’ “Rethinking Mental Health” global competition. The competition drew over 340 submissions from 42 countries and sought the “best solutions to improve mental health in communities around the world.”
Dr. Patrick Lee, a friend of mine who is heading up this important project, said, “We were overjoyed by the outpouring of support from people around the world. You — our community of friends, families and colleagues — rapidly mobilized a global network of concern…

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