Sarah A. Schnitker

Associate Professor of Psychology, Department of Clinical PsychologySchool of Psychology

Contact Information
BA, Grove City College
MA, PhD, University of California, Davis

Sarah A. Schnitker joined the Fuller faculty in 2010. She is an associate professor of clinical psychology and core faculty member of the Thrive Center for Human Development. Schnitker earned her PhD and MA in Personality and Social Psychology from the University of California, Davis, and her BA in Psychology from Grove City College.

Schnitker’s research broadly examines virtue and character development in adolescents and young adults, with a focus on the role of spirituality and religion in virtue formation. She specializes in the study of patience, self-control, gratitude, and thrift. Schnitker recently received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to examine the efficacy of virtue interventions in adolescent athletes. She is also engaged in several initiatives to assess the ability of media and technology to promote positive moral development and the formation of virtue.

Schnitker is on the editorial board for The Journal of Positive Psychology, and she is affiliated with the Division 36 (the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality) of the American Psychological Association; the International Positive Psychology Association; the Society for Personality and Social Psychology; and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Courses Taught

  • FS504: Marriage and Interpersonal Relationships
  • FS510: Human Development in Context
  • FS810: Lifespan Development
  • PG830: Social Psychology
  • PG840: Personality
  • PI528/828: Psychology and Spiritual Formation

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Development of character strengths and well-being, the virtue of patience, positive youth development, personal goals and strivings, spiritual transformation, personality, positive psychology, and psychology of religion


  • Schnitker, S. A., Felke, T. J., Barrett, J. L., & Emmons, R. A. (2014). Longitudinal study of religious and spiritual transformation in adolescents attending Young Life summer camp: Assessing the epistemic, intrapsychic, and moral sociability functions of conversion. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6, 83-93.
  • Schnitker, S. A., Felke, T. J., Barrett, J. L., & Emmons, R. A. (2014). Virtue development following spiritual transformation in adolescents attending evangelistic summer camp. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 33, 22-35.
  • Schnitker, S. A., Blews, A. E., & Foss, J. A. (2014). Patience and self-renewal. In E. A. Maynard and R. J. Wicks (Eds.), Clinician’s Guide to Self-Renewal: Essential Advice from the Field (pp. 205-227). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Schnitker, S. A., & Westbrook, J. T. (2014). Do good things come to those who wait? Patience interventions to improve well-being. In A. C. Parks and S. M. Schueller (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Positive Psychological Interventions (pp. 155-167). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Schnitker, S. A., & Emmons, R. A. (2013). Spiritual striving and seeking the sacred: Religion as goal-directed behavior. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 23(4): 315-24. Special Issue In Honor of Bernard Spilka. DOI: 10.1080/10508619.2013.795822.
  • Schnitker, S. A., & Emmons, R. A. (2013). Positive psychology and religion. In A. L. C. Runehov, L. Oviedo, & N. P. Azari (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions (pp. 1807-1814). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
  • Emmons, R. A., & Schnitker, S. A. (2013). Gods and goals: Religion and purposeful action. In R. F. Paloutzian and C. L. Park (Eds.), The Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (Vol. 2, pp. 256-273). New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Schnitker, S. A. (2012). An examination of patience and well-being. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 263-280. doi:10.1080/17439760.2012.697185.
  • Schnitker, S. A., Porter, T., Emmons, R. A., & Barrett, J. L. (2012). Attachment predicts adolescent conversions at Young Life religious summer camps. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 22, 198-215. DOI: 10.1080/10508619.2012.670024.
  • Noftle, E. E., Schnitker, S. A., & Robins, R. W. (2011). Character and personality: Connections between positive psychology and personality psychology. In K. M. Sheldon, T. B. Kashdan, & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Designing the Future of Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward (pp. 207-227). New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Barrett, J. L., Porter, T., Emmons, R. A., & Schnitker, S. A. (2009). Different styles reach different kids: An empirical enquiry into Young Life camping outreach programs in the USA and Europe. Journal of Youth and Theology, 8, 10-27.
  • Emmons, R. A., Barrett, J. L., & Schnitker, S. A. (2008). Personality and the capacity for religious and spiritual experience. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of Personality (3rd Ed, pp. 634-653). New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Schnitker, S. A., & Emmons, R. A. (2007). Patience as a virtue: Religious and psychological perspectives. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 18, 177-207.


Dr. Schnitker’s CV

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