Howard J. Shaffer, PhD

Dr. Howard Jeffrey Shaffer is the Morris E. Chafetz Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Medical School; in addition, he is the Director of the Division on Addiction at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. Dr. Shaffer has served as principal or co-principal investigator on many government, foundation, and industry sponsored research projects around the world. Dr. Shaffer is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He served on the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Committee on the Social and Economic Impacts of Pathological Gambling. His professional appointments have included consultation to many national and international organizations, including consultation to the National Institutes of Health, The National Cancer Institute, The National Council on Marijuana and Health, The Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security, The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, the Tung Wah Hospital Group in Hong Kong, and The Massachusetts Departments of Mental and Public Health.

Dr. Shaffer is the author/editor of approximately 275 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 20 books or monographs, including the 2012 Choice Award for the APA Addiction Syndrome Handbook, with Drs. LaPlante and Nelson, and the 2012 Change Your Gambling, Change Your Life, with co-authors Ryan Martin, John Kleschinsky, and Liz Neporent.

Dr. Shaffer is the past editor of The Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and The Journal of Gambling Studies. Also, he is a founder and past associate editor of The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Dr. Shaffer serves as a member of many editorial boards and is as an ad hoc reviewer for many other scholarly journals. Dr. Shaffer has received many awards, including the 2010 American Psychological Association, Division 50, award for “Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions.” During 2015, he received the Lifetime Research Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Dr. Shaffer’s research, writing, and teaching have influenced how the health care field conceptualizes and treats the full range of addictive behaviors. His Syndrome Model of Addiction has gained broad acceptance, influencing how we think about both behavioral and substance-related addiction.


Posts by Howard J. Shaffer, PhD

What is addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, Contributor

As understanding of addiction evolves, experts now believe that the roots of addiction can be found in a person’s efforts to escape discomfort and that this drive that can take a number of possible expressions, whether through a substance or an activity. The road to recovery can be long and include setbacks, but with time life can become much better.