Pamela Ebstyne King, Ph.D.

Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science

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Positive Youth Development

Religious and Spiritual Development

Moral, Character, and Virtue Development

Applied Developmental Psychology

Contemplative Psychology

Exemplar Methods

Cultural Psychology

Integration of Psychology and Theology

Thriving Theory (Telos)

About Dr. King

Dr. Pamela Ebstyne King joined Fuller Theological Seminary as Assistant Professor of Marital and Family Studies in 2008, after serving at the School of Psychology (now the School of Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy) for eight years as an adjunct and research professor. In 2014, she was named Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science. Dr. King is the head faculty member at the Thrive Center for Human Development.

Her primary academic interests are applied research at the intersection of human thriving and spiritual development. Her work combines psychology, theology, and community engagement to further understand what contexts and personal strengths enable people to thrive in different settings. She is particularly interested in the role of spirituality in that process. To this end, she has led in building an empirical field of study of religious and spiritual development within developmental psychology. She is recognized in ecumenical settings for facilitating dialogue, scholarship, and empirical research that bridges diverse perspectives of transcendence and psychological process that leads to human transformation and thriving. 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.

Dr. King is coauthor of The Reciprocating Self: Human Development in Theological Perspective, coeditor of The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, and coauthor of inaugural chapters on research on religious and spiritual development in the seventh edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, the Handbook of Adolescent Psychology, and the Handbook of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. She has co-edited special issues on religious and spiritual development in Applied Developmental Science, the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, and Journal of Research on Adolescence. She has served on the editorial boards of Developmental Psychology, Journal of Positive Psychology, and Applied Developmental Science. Her work is widely published in peer-reviewed journals in the subdisciplines of developmental psychology, psychology of religion and spirituality, positive psychology, and integration of psychology and Christian theology. Dr. 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.

Recent Posts

The Wows and Woes of Graduation: Traversing Transition with Hope

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Jun 9, 2021

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.

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Breaking Open: The Joys and Laments of Vaccinated Living

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Apr 30, 2021

As our country slowly begins to re-open, Dr. Pamela King calls us to re-orient our lives towards what matters most and brings us joy.

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Bouncing Back or Bouncing Beyond? Shifting from Structures to Systems

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Jan 12, 2021

Dr. Pam King discusses the importance of creating transformative systems that will enable human thriving.

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While We Wait

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Nov 6, 2020

As Americans await the results of the 2020 elections, Dr. Pam King reflects on the importance of holding onto hope.

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Finding Agility through the 5 A’s

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Sep 30, 2020

Part of our journey towards thriving involves agility. Dr. Pam King explains how we can be agile through this 5-step process.

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All Bets are Off: Rethinking the Basics Amid COVID-19

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Sep 7, 2020

How can we carry out our basic needs and still thrive during COVID-19? Dr. Pam King shares 8 ways we can do this.

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Thriving over the Long Haul this Fall

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Sep 3, 2020

Dr. Pamela King reviews the elements of a thriving mindset, providing tips on how we can pursue each as we approach the fall of 2020.

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Lament and Hope in Times of Injustice and Racism

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Jun 5, 2020

Dr. Pam King reflects on injustice and racism, the importance of attuning to our emotions, and coming together as a community.

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A Quarantine Mother’s Day: Finding Purpose in the Middle of Crisis

By Pamela Ebstyne King | May 9, 2020

In an unprecedented Mother’s Day, Dr. Pamela King invites all mothers to focus on their purpose in order to live more fulfilling lives.

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Staying Grounded, Connected, and Directed through Disruption

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Apr 23, 2020

Dr. Pam King discusses how spirituality can help us stay grounded, connected, and directed throughout challenges.

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Light in Darkness: Not a Wholly Unprecedented Holy Week

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Apr 9, 2020

Dr. Pam King explores how our beliefs can bring hope and light to our lives during dark times like COVID-19.

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Changing Our Focus from Surviving to Thriving During COVID-19

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Mar 12, 2020

Dr. Pamela King reflects on the importance of contemplative practices as the key to thriving during the unprecedented times.

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Cambiando nuestro enfoque de “sobrevivir” a prosperar durante COVID-19

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Mar 12, 2020

Dra. Pamla King reflexiona sobre la importancia de las prácticas contemplativas para ayudarnos a prosperar durante el coronavirus.

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Thriving on the Road to Joy

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Jan 22, 2020

How can caring adults equip youth for a journey of long-lasting joy? Dr. Pam King highlights the 3 essentials needed.

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Orienting Ourselves through the Holi-daze

By Pamela Ebstyne King | Dec 18, 2019

Are we thriving during the pre-holiday craze? Dr. Pam King reminds us about the importance of being mindful and orieinting our lives to what matters.

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