Joshua R. Novak Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Joshua R. Novak headshot

Glanton House

Auburn University
312 Quad Drive
Auburn, AL 36849

(334) 844-4456




Fun Facts
Favorite books/Movies?
Lord of the Rings Books and anything therapist-y or neuroscience related…I’m such a nerd

Favorite quotes?
Keep close to Nature’s Heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. –John Muir

Favorite Hobbies/Passions?
Cooking and baking-if I weren’t a professor/therapist…I’d love to be a chef. I love the creativity and the complexity that cooking good food allows. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll open up my own restaurant!

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Kansas State University, 2016
Ph.D. Brigham Young University, Marriage and Family Therapy, 2015
M.S. Texas Tech University, Marriage and Family Therapy, 2012
B.S. Anderson University, Psychology, 2010
Research Interests
• Couples and Chronic Illness Management
• Committed Relationships and Engagement in Health Behaviors
• Same-Sex Couples and health processes
• Bioregulation (sleep, exercise, & nutrition) on mental and physical health
• Process Research in MFT
Courses Taught
Individual, Couple, and Family Dynamics of Addiction, Recovery, and Treatment
Systemic Impact of Illness, MedFT, and Psychopharmacology
Practicum in Marriage & Family Therapy

2019   Top 20 downloaded article in a Wiley Journal of 2017-2018: “Does personality matter in diabetes
      adherence?: Exploring the pathways between neuroticism and patient adherence in couples with
      type 2 diabetes.”
2017   Issues in Aging Focus Group Award (NCFR): “Associations between Economic Pressure and Physical
      Health in Later Life Marriages.”
2015   JMFT Outstanding Doctoral Apprentice Reviewer, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
2014   Cutting Edge Poster Award (AAMFT): “The Impact of Technology on Face-to-Face Communication”
Research Focus
Director of the Relationships and Health Lab

My program of research is on the nexus of couple relationships and health behaviors, specifically with how couple processes might attenuate negative health outcomes. I also am interested in understanding how health and wellness (or lack of) influence relationship processes. I aim to understand these by studying how couple support processes (coping, communication, responsiveness, etc.) may help to improve engagement in healthy behaviors (such as diet, exercise, mindfulness, etc.) through improving emotional and mental health. Finally, I am passionately curious about the processes of change within therapy that can lead to positive therapy outcomes. I aim to understand the sequential unfolding of therapeutic interventions and how clients respond to them.
Research Projects
Health Attitudes and Beliefs in Same-Sex Couples
This project investigates dyadic attitudes toward health and how one’s own internal strategies in health management (intuitive eating and exercising) impacts their partners’ health management.

Health Behavior Concordance and Health Support Concordance in Couple Relationships
This project investigates how similar and/or different couples are in their engagement in healthy or unhealthy behaviors, including nutrition, exercise, sleep, sedentary behaviors, and risky behaviors (alcohol and drug use).
Selected Publications
Novak, J. R. (in press). Initial development of a new scale for examining couples’ beliefs about their role in their partner’s health: The Relationship Health Belief Scale. Families, Systems, & Health.

Novak, J. R., Peak, T., Gast, J., & Arnell, M. (in press). Associations between masculine norms and healthcare utilization in highly religious, heterosexual married men. American Journal of Men’s Health.

Novak, J. R., Gast, J., Peak, T., Johnson, R.R., Morrey, R., Smith, M., & Souders, M. (2018). A case study of health-related support processes in two happy gay couples. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 12(6), 462-471. DOI: 10.1177/1559827618788854

Novak, J. R., Anderson, J. R., Johnson, M. D., Walker, A., Wilcox, A., Lewis, V. L., & Robbins, D. C. (2017). Associations between economic pressure and diabetes efficacy in couples with type 2 diabetes. Family Relations, 66(2), 273-286. DOI: 10.1111/fare.12246.

Novak, J. R., Anderson, J. R., Johnson, M. D., Hardy, N., Walker, A., Wilcox, A., Lewis, V. L., & Robbins, D. C. (2017). Does personality matter in diabetes adherence?: Exploring the pathways between neuroticism and patient adherence in couples with type 2 diabetes. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 9(2), 207-227. DOI:10.1111/aphw.12087

Anderson, J. R., Novak, J. R., Dietz, S. L., Johnson, M. D., Walker, A., Wilcox, A., Lewis, V. L., & Robbins, D. C. (2016). A dyadic multiple mediation model of patient and spouse stressors predicting patient dietary and exercise adherence via depression symptoms and diabetes self-efficacy. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39(6), 1020-1032. DOI:10.1007/s10865-016-9796-9