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.

Shades of Gratitude Project

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

The Joyride Project

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

Study of Spirituality in America

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

CI Study of Positive Youth Development

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

Measuring Spirituality Among Adolescents

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

The Telos Project

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

Multidimensional Identities of the 1.5 Undocu Generation

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

Research Projects Archive

Spiritual Exemplars Project

A continuation study, Pamela 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

Ben Houltberg and scholars examine the role of self-narrative profiles in elite athletes' wellbeing.


Virtue Interventions in Young Athletes

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


Evolutionary Psychology on Thriving

Thrive faculty and students engage scholars on evolutionary psychology, spirituality, and thriving.


Goal Sanctification & Prayer on Virtues

Sarah Schnitker and student researchers study the impact of goal sanctification on gratitude, generosity, and thrift.


I:5 Circles of Care Project

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


Love Thy Neighbor Project

Sarah Schnitker examines the connection between intercessory prayer and generosity with student researchers.

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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