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Steven Reiss

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Steven Reiss Obituary
Reiss Steven Reiss. Peacefully on October 28, 2016, at age 69. Loving husband of Maggi Musico Reiss of Columbus, OH; proud father of Michael (Kristen) Reiss of McLean, VA and Benjamin Reiss (with fiancée, Ashley Bennett) of Chicago, IL; and adoring grandfather to Caleb and James Reiss of McLean, VA. Also survived by brother, Robert (Sandy) Reiss of Olney, MD; niece, Sharon Reiss of Smyrna, GA; nephew, Kevin Reiss (Lauren Pachman) and great niece, Elizabeth Reiss of Vienna, VA; and nephew, Daniel (Courtney) Reiss and great nephew, Joseph Reiss of Phoenix, AZ. Preceded in death by his parents Ben and Margaret Reiss. Steven was born in Brooklyn but grew up on Long Island. After graduating from Plainview High School, he attended Dartmouth College where he was one of 16 members of his undergraduate class to be awarded Senior Fellow status. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University and completed a clinical psychology internship at Harvard Medical School. He was a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Steven served as a tenured professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at The Ohio State University, where for 16 years he was Director of the Nisonger Center for developmental disabilities. He contributed original ideas, new assessment methods, and influential research studies to four topics in psychology: anxiety disorders, developmental disabilities, intrinsic motivation, and the psychology of religion. Steven led the research team that discovered anxiety sensitivity - the idea that the fear of fear arises from beliefs about the consequences of anxiety. Anxiety sensitivity became an important topic in clinical psychology (with more than 1,800 published studies), and it changed how therapists treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Panic Disorder, disorders that affect 10 million Americans. He wrote the Anxiety Sensitivity Index®, a measure that has been translated into more than 20 languages and that is widely used in the assessment of anxiety disorders. Steven was one of the world's leading authorities on dual diagnosis, or the co-occurrence of mental illness and intellectual disabilities. He founded one of the first outpatient programs for people with a dual diagnosis, and the success of this clinic helped to justify and fund hundreds of new psychiatric service programs in North America and Europe. He introduced the now widely used term "diagnostic overshadowing" to refer to the tendency to overlook the mental health needs of people with developmental disabilities. He organized the first-ever international conference on the mental health aspects of intellectual disabilities, and he published the Reiss Screen for Maladaptive Behavior®, which became the leading method in North America for identifying service needs for many thousands of people with a dual diagnosis. His work in the field of developmental disabilities was recognized with five national awards. Following a life-threatening diagnosis in 1995, Steven began to study what makes people tick. He and his colleagues executed the first large-scale, cross-cultural, scientific research surveys of what people say motivates them. The Reiss Motivation Profile® (RMP) identified 16 psychological needs or basic desires, which are goals common to everyone. Everyone is motivated by these 16 basic desires, but individuals prioritize them differently. His theory of motivation has been applied to leadership training and conflict resolution in business, assessing motivational reasons for academic underachievement, advising students on college and career choices, enabling athletes to achieve peak performance through understanding their tendencies under the stress of competition, and identifying the value differences that underlie chronic conflicts in relationships. It was his wish for the Reiss Motivation Profile® to help people achieve value-based happiness by making life choices that satisfy their deepest desires. It also was his wish for the RMP to foster greater understanding of and tolerance for individual differences. Steven proposed an original, comprehensive, scientifically testable theory of the psychology of religious experiences that explains why some people find meaning in religion including the practices of mysticism and asceticism. In his most recent book, The 16 Strivings for God, he provided detailed support for his theory that religion is about the values associated with the 16 basic desires of human nature. Steven authored eight books, was editor on two books, published numerous articles in prestigious scientific journals, gave talks in 44 states as well as four Canadian provinces, made an invited presentation before the Civil Rights Division of the United States Justice Department, and gave invited addresses in Austria, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales. He mentored a number of graduate students including Susan Havercamp, Richard J. McNally, Mary Ellen Milos, James T. Napolitan, Marc J. Tasse', and James Wiltz. Steven will be remembered for his passionate pursuit of knowledge, his incredibly creative ideas, his lifelong commitment to improving the lives of others, his witty observations about the world around him, and his quiet dedication to his family. A family gathering was held on October 30 at the SCHOEDINGER FUNERAL HOME in Worthington, and a celebration of Steven's life is being planned for Spring 2017. Contributions in memory of Steven can be made to the NADD, 132 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401 (http://thenadd.org) or to the OSU Wexner Medical Center Nisonger Center Programs - 302755, PO Box 183112, Columbus, OH 43219-3112 (http://go.osu.edu/stevenreiss).
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Nov. 13, 2016
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