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Elizabeth  Burgess Dowdell, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, PhD

Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Research | M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing | Villanova University


Elizabeth Dowdell, PhD, RN, FAAN, is an expert in the use of social media by adolescents and the health risks posed by online behaviors.






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Dr. Nancy RN


Areas of Expertise (5)


Health Risk Behaviors in Children and Adolescents

Violence and Victimology

Sleep Texting

Internet Safety


The use of social media across the globe is expanding exponentially as the number of social media outlets, applications, and access continue to increase. Along with this growth in connectivity come concerns about child Internet victimization as well as new phenomena associated with technology. Dr. Dowdell is an expert in the use of social media by teens and the health risks posed by their online behaviors. She can address how risky online behaviors endanger vulnerable children, how technology affects a child’s and family’s everyday life and the emergence of new technology-related behaviors like sleep texting.

Education (3)

University of Pennsylvania: PhD

Boston College: MS

Vanderbilt University: BSN

Select Accomplishments (1)

American Academy of Nursing Fellow (professional)

2012 Inducted as a fellow in to the American Academy of Nursing.

Affiliations (1)

  • Consultant, U.S. Department of Justice, The Office of Juvenile Justice and Deinquency Prevention

Select Media Appearances (9)

The Supremacy of the Supreme Court

SiriusXM's The John Fugelsang Podcast  radio


In this episode - John interviews Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell, who is a professor in the Nursing department at Villanova University and an expert in child and adolescent mental health. They discuss her smartphone related Ted X talk entitled - "Interrupted Sleep: College Students Sleeping with Technology".

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New Sleep Texting Research From Villanova University

Good Morning America  tv


A new study is making headlines saying sleep texting may be on the rise. Researchers at Villanova University found more than a quarter of the college students they talked to reported texting in their sleep. And most of them don’t remember doing it when they wake up in the morning. Some were even wearing mittens so they won’t text.

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Villanova University Study Finds Students are Sleep Texting

CBS This Morning  tv


Well the Philadelphia Inquirer says sleep texting really happens. A study by Villanova University found that 25 percent of students who were surveyed, admitted that they texted while asleep. More than half of them have no memory of sleep texting. One-third said they answered the phone while sleeping

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Sleep texting is real, and you may be doing it

The Philadelphia Inquirer  online


The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription may be required to view – picked up by more than 20 outlets) People are known to walk, talk, and eat while sleeping. Now, there is sleep texting. A new study from Villanova University found that the habit of using smartphones to message friends while still asleep — and having no memory of doing it — is a growing technology trend among adolescents and young adults. The paper, "Interrupted sleep: College students sleeping with technology," was published in the Journal of American College Health.

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Trauma-Responsive Schools Must Be the New Gold Standard in Education

Healthcetera  online


American schools are no longer places where children, teachers and staff feel safe. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress, 57 percent of teenagers now fear a school shooting. The troubled youths who commit mass shootings typically have many “red flags” that fit a dangerous profile. In the wake of the Parkland, Florida tragedy, parents and school districts sought immediate deployment of security specialists and emergency response procedures. However, the most effective interventions to address school violence may be to better understand what children experience at home through trauma-informed care.

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Put Down Your Phone: Study Shows Families Want More Interaction Free of Phones

NBC10 Philadelphia  online


Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell, a professor of Pediatric Nursing at Villanova University and expert on children and smart devices, provided tips for parents on how to encourage more time together away from their phones and computers. "Don't be afraid," Dr. Dowdell said. "That Internet is very intimidating. But at the end of the day, that child is the priority."

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Don't recall sending that message? Maybe you're 'sleep texting'

CNN  online


Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell, a professor of pediatric nursing at Villanova University's College of Nursing, heard the same thing as she was researching Internet risk behaviors and the victimization of children and adolescents.

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Sleep Texting Is On The Rise, Experts Suggest

Huffington Post  online


Earlier this week, a CBS affiliate in Philadelphia spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell, a professor of nursing at Villanova University, who believes that more and more teens may be texting in their sleep

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Facebook regret? California law lets kids erase embarrassing posts.

Christian Science Monitor  online


While photos of teens that have been removed from sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine could appear again elsewhere, the very intention of removing it may be important, adds Elizabeth Dowdell, professor in the College of Nursing at Villanova University.

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Research Grants (4)

Self-Exploitation and Electronic Aggression: High Risk Internet Behaviors in Adolescents

U.S. Department of Justice, OJJDP 

Principal Investigator

A Multi-prong Approach to Child Internet Safety

U.S. Department of Justice, OJJDP 

Principal Investigator

Promoting Internet Child Safety: High School Students and Focus Groups

Villanova College of Nursing 

Principal Investigator

Internet Related Techniques used by Offenders in Crimes Against Children

U.S. Department of Justice, OJJDP 

Principal Investigator

Select Academic Articles (5)

American Academy of Nursing on policy: Recommendations in response to mass shootings

Nursing Outlook

Rosa M. Gonzalez-Guarda, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN*, Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, PhD, RN, FAAN, Marie Ann Marino, EdD, RN, FAAN, Jocelyn C. Anderson, PhD, RN, Kathryn Laughon, PhD, RN, FAAN


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Adolescent Suicide Cases: Toxicology Reports and Prescription Drugs

The Journal for Nurse Practitioners

Carrie M. Carretta, PhD, APN, AHN-BC, Ann W. Burgess, DSNc, RNCS, Elizabeth B. Dowdell, PhD, RN, and Barbara A. Caldwell, PhD, APN-BC


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Online Social Networking Patterns Among Adolescents, Young Adults, and Sexual Offenders

The American Journal of Nursing

Dowdell EB, Burgess AW, Flores JR.


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Use of the Internet by parents of middle school students: Internet rules, risky behaviors, and online concerns

Journal of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell


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Middle school students and risky Internet behaviors: Communication with online strangers and offline contact

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing.

Dowdell, E.B.


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