Kendall Cotton Bronk is a professor of psychology in the Division of Behavioral & Social Sciences. She is a developmental psychologist interested in understanding and supporting the positive development and moral growth of young people. Most recently, she has investigated these topics through the lens of young people’s purposes in life.
Work in her Adolescent Moral Development lab has focused on addressing two primary questions around purpose. First, what does purpose look like among diverse groups of young people, including youth growing up in poorly resourced communities, youth growing up in developing countries, and youth growing up amidst global economic challenges? Second, work in her lab has focused on creating and testing strategies for fostering purpose among youth. Resulting purpose-fostering tools have been shared with thousands of youth across the country.
Current research in the lab is focused on family purpose, purpose among adolescent and young adult cancer survivors, and purpose among street children in Liberia. Her work has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation.
In addition to her substantive interests, Bronk has also helped define and outline the parameters of the exemplar methodology, an approach to empirical research that provides insight into exemplary, or highly developed, forms of growth. Understanding not only what is common but also what is possible is critical to a complete understanding of human development and flourishing. Bronk teaches master’s and doctoral classes on positive contexts, child development, adolescent development, and qualitative research methods. She also teaches a directed research course for first-year positive developmental doctoral students.
After graduating with a BS from Northwestern University, Bronk earned her doctorate from Stanford University and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Stanford Center on Adolescence.
Co-authored with Reichard, R. J., & Qi, J. (2022). A co-citation analysis of purpose: Trends and (potential) troubles in the foundation of purpose scholarship. Journal of Positive Psychology.
Co-authored with Baumsteiger, R., Mangan, S., & McConchie, J. (2022). What’s your “why?” A content analysis of youth purpose. Journal of Character Education, 18(1), 1-14.
Co-authored with Cheung, R. C. M., Mehoke, S., & Pham, P. (2022). A thematic analysis of Tweets about purpose. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2022.2109198.
Co-authored Wang, Y., Xiaoyan, L., & Danhua, L. (2022). Factors that promote positive Chinese youth development: A qualitative study. Applied Developmental Science. DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2022.2060225.
Co-authored & Damon, W. (2022). Scientific and ethical mandates in the study of purpose. Human Development. DOI: 10.1159/000524601.
Co-authored Giesemann, X., Donaldson, R., & Mitchell, C. (2022). Understanding how a cancer diagnosis can shape young people’s views of the future and their purpose in life. Applied Developmental Science. DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2022.2026774.
Co-authored & Mitchell, C. (2021). Considering purpose through the lens of prospection. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2021.2016899.
Co-authored Damon, W. (2021). What makes a purpose “worth having?”: A commentary. Human Development. DOI: 10.1159/000515949.
Co-authored Porter, T., Baldwin, C., Murray, E., Warren, M. T., Forgeard, M., Snow, N., Jayawickreme, E. (2021). Clarifying the content of intellectual humility: A systematic review and integrative framework. Journal of Personality Assessment, 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/00223891.2021.1975725.
Co-authored Blom, L., Sullivan, M., McConchie, J., Ballesteros, J., & Farello, A. (2020). Peace and development indicators in Liberia through sport for development programming. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pac0000463.
Qualitative Research Methods
Qualitative Research Methods Practicum
Purpose at Work and in Life