Kendall Cotton Bronk is an associate 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.
Bronk, K. C., Leontopoulou, S. & McConchie, J. (2018). Youth purpose during the Great Recession: A mixed methods study. Journal of Positive Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2018.1484942. (impact factor 2.59)
Bronk, K. C., Riches, B., & Mangan, S. (2018). Claremont Purpose Scale: A measure that assesses three dimensions of purpose. Research in Human Development, 15(2), 101-117. https://doi.org/10.1080/15427609.2018.1441577. (impact factor 2.41)
Bronk, K. C. & Mc Lean, D. (2016). The role of passion and purpose in leader developmental readiness. In B. Reichard and S. Thompson (Eds.) New Directions for Student Leadership, 149, 27-36.
Hill, P., Burrow, A., & Bronk, K.C. (2014). Persevering with positivity and purpose: An examination of purpose commitment and positive affect as predictors of grit. Journal of Happiness Studies. Doi: 10.1007/s10902-014-9593-5. (impact factor 2.33)
Bronk, K. C. (2013). Purpose in Life: A Component of Optimal Youth Development. New York: Springer.
Bronk, K. C., King, P. E., & Matsuba, K. (2013). The exemplar methodology. In K. Matsuba, K., P. E. King, & K. C. Bronk, (Eds.) New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 142(4), 1–12.
Bronk, K. C. (2012). A grounded theory of youth purpose. Journal of Adolescent Research, 27, 78–109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0743558411412958.
Bronk, K. C. (2011). Portraits of purpose: The role of purpose in identity formation. New Directions for Youth Development, 132, 31–44.
Bronk, K. C., Finch, W. H. & Talib, T. (2010). The prevalence of a purpose in life among high ability adolescents. High Ability Studies, 21(2), 133–145.
Bronk, K. C. & Finch, W. H. (2010). Adolescent characteristics by type of long-term aim in life. Applied Developmental Science, 14(1), 1–10.