Research at Thrive

We work at the nexus of science and spirituality to further investigate what promotes thriving.

Major Research Initiatives

The Thrive Center's research seeks to investigate and further understand the psychological components of thriving, as well as the further the promotion of the process of thriving. Specifically, the Thrive Center works at the integration of science and spirituality.

Family gathering for a group hug
Shades of Gratitude Project

Our team seeks to test and develop a theoretical framework to help guide future research on gratitude.

Biker riding in the sunset
The Joyride Project

Dr. King explores the nature of joy and how to nurture joy in youth in order to promote thriving.

Prayer hands lifted towards the sunset
Study of Spirituality in America

Our team uses cutting-edge structural model analysis to understand diverse spirituality in the U.S.

Children laughing and clapping in Sierra Leone
CI Study of Positive Youth Development

Dr. King and partners study the impact of Compassion International's programs on youth.

A group of youth by a wall
Measuring Spirituality Among Adolescents

Dr. King tests the psychological viability of the MDAS scale among diverse youth.

Woman holding the world
The Telos Project

Dr. King uses teleology to further understand the ends and means of human development and thriving.

Woman holding spheres with different identities
Multidimensional Identities of the 1.5 Undocu Generation

Dr. Rojas-Flores and Ramirez lead a self-care, mental health series to support undocumented youth.

Research Projects Archive

Spiritual Exemplars Project

A continuation study, Dr. King follows up on the spiritual journeys of elected youth exemplars.

Panelists enjoying conversation

Conversing About Patience

Thrive scholars lead a table discussion on patience in different contexts with 3 other thought leaders.

Runners sprinting to the finish line

Identity in Elite Athletes

Dr. Houltberg and scholars examine the role of self-narrative profiles in elite athletes' well-being.


Virtue Interventions in Young Athletes

Drs. Schnitker and Houltberg examine the contexts in which teen athletes develop character strengths.


Evolutionary Psychology on Thriving

Drs. King, Barrett, and Furrow engage scholars on evolutionary psychology, spirituality, and thriving.


Goal Sanctification & Prayer on Virtues

Dr. Schnitker studies the impact of goal sanctification on gratitude, generosity, and thrift.


I:5 Circles of Care Project

Dr. King evaluates a high school mentorship program to see how mentors help youth thrive.


Love Thy Neighbor Project

Dr. Schnitker and researchers examine the connection between intercessory prayer and generosity.

Selected Publications

Interrogating Ergodicity & Specificity in Youth Development Programs

The CI research team look at instances of commonality and specificity in Salvadoran youth enrolled in CI programs.

MDAS & Refined Findings from Mexican & Salvadoran Youth

The CI research team test the MDAS scale across 2 samples, and share implications for future research.

Religion as Fertile Ground

Drs. King, Schnitker, and Houltberg provide an overview of how religion is linked to moral and virtue development in youth.

Joy as a Virtue: Means & Ends of Joy

Dr. King and Thrive Fellow, Defoy propose a definition and framework for understanding joy through thriving.

Exploring Religiousness & Hope Among Salvadoran Youth

The CI research team test whether religiousness is related to hopeful future expectations.

Joy Distinguished: Teleological Perspectives on Joy

Dr. King propose a teleological framework to conceptualize joy as a virtue that can lead to thriving.

The Big 3 Components of PYD Programs in Rwanda

The CI research team report on the data collected from Rwandan participants to assess the traits of effective PYD programs.

Evaluating the MDAS in Mexican & Salvadoran Youth

The CI research team apply the MDAS to indicate the extent to which spirituality was integrated into the lives of youth.

Religion, Spirituality & Thriving

Thrive scholars propose that religion/spirituality is related to thriving through telos, virtues, and transcendence.

Processes of Religious & Spiritual Influence in Youth

Drs. King and Hardy capture the latest research on religion and spirituality for youth thriving in this special issue.

Illuminating the Use of the Specificity Principle

The CI research team explore the use of the specificity principle in future assessments of Sustainable Development Goal indicators.

End of the Beginning: Studying PYD in a Global Context

The CI research team review and discuss the use PYD models in global settings, particularly among impoverished youth.

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