About Dr. King
Pamela Ebstyne King, Ph.D. joined Fuller Theological Seminary as assistant professor of Marital and Family Studies in 2008, after serving in the School of Psychology for eight years as an adjunct and research professor. She was installed in 2014 with a professorship named for her mentor, Peter L. Benson. In 2021 she was promoted to the position of Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science. Dr. King is also executive director of the Thrive Center for Human Development.
Dr. King’s academic and applied efforts aim to promote a movement of human thriving that contributes to flourishing societies. Her primary academic interests lie at the intersection of thriving and spiritual development. She is passionate about understanding what individual strengths and environments enable humans to thrive and become all God created them to be. She holds particular interest in understanding the role of faith, spirituality, religion, and virtues in this process. To this end she has led in building an empirical field of study of religious and spiritual development within developmental psychology that provides a psychological scientific perspective of spiritual formation.
She has extensively studied and written on conceptualizations of thriving and positive youth development. Her work on telos is noted to provide an interdisciplinary framework for human thriving and flourishing from different philosophical, theological, and cultural perspectives and to provide a structure for understanding practical concepts like purpose, vocation, and joy. Her work combines theology, empirical research, and community engagement to further understand what contexts and settings enable people to thrive. She has conducted research funded by Biologos Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, Compassion International, and Tyndale House, among others. In addition to her scholarship, she finds deep joy in teaching and mentoring students at Fuller.
Dr. King is coauthor of The Reciprocating Self: Human Development in Theological Perspective and Thriving with Stone Age Minds: Evolutionary Psychology, Christian Theology & Human Flourishing, coeditor of The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, and coauthor of the inaugural chapter on research on religious and spiritual development in the seventh edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science. She has served on the editorial boards of Developmental Psychology, Journal of Positive Psychology, Applied Developmental Science, the Encyclopedia of Applied Developmental Science, and the Encyclopedia of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence. She has also published articles in the Journal on Adolescent Research, Journal of Early Adolescence, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, and Journal of Psychology and Christianity. King is a member of the Society for Research on Adolescents, Society for Research on Child Development, and Division 36 of the American Psychological Association.
In addition to her studies at Fuller, Dr. King completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University and a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford’s Center on Adolescence; she was a visiting scholar under the divinity faculty at Cambridge University. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she has led high school and college ministries, and regularly speaks, preaches, and consults for various community organizations and churches. She lives in Pasadena with her husband and three children.
Read Posts by Dr. King
Practicing gratitude has the power to transform and involves our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Pay attention to this powerful positive emotion using these simple steps to guide you. Attune Become aware of the emotions you experience when you consider gifts you have received. Perhaps you feel the emotions of delight and joy; let them point you…+ Read More
Pamela King reflects on the church of her youth and considers lessons from her current research findings about spirituality for the future.+ Read More
Finding joy requires practice. Learn how you can be agile and experience more joy through our 5-step process.+ Read More
As mental health awareness grows, Pamela King reflects on the tools we need to live coherent, purposeful lives.+ Read More
Dr. Pamela King discusses how tapping into our faith and contributing to a flourishing world can help us thrive through difficulty.+ Read More
As the world continues to languish, Dr. Pamela King emphasizes the need for spirituality as a source of personal and societal transformation.+ Read More
Dr. Pamela King reflects on her hopes for her son as he graduates high school and her new role as a partner in this next phase of their lives.+ Read More
As our country slowly begins to re-open, Pamela King calls us to re-orient our lives towards what matters most and brings us joy.+ Read More
Dr. Pam King discusses the importance of creating transformative systems that will enable human thriving.+ Read More
How can we carry out our basic needs and still thrive during COVID-19? Dr. Pam King shares 8 ways we can do this.+ Read More
A key to thriving is learning how to respond to our emotions in the face of loss, grief, and pain. Here are 6 ways you can start doing this.+ Read More
In an unprecedented Mother’s Day, Dr. Pamela King invites all mothers to focus on their purpose in order to live more fulfilling lives.+ Read More
Dr. Pam King discusses how spirituality can help us stay grounded, connected, and directed throughout challenges.+ Read More
Dr. Pam King explores how our beliefs can bring hope and light to our lives during dark times like COVID-19.+ Read More
Dr. Pamela King reflects on the importance of contemplative practices as the key to thriving during the unprecedented times.+ Read More
Pamela King shares the 3 dimensions of religion and spirituality that promote positive youth development.+ Read More
Explore how youth programs can help teens strengthen the developmental assets that contribute to their thriving.+ Read More