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Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D. Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience | Baylor University

Waco, TX, UNITED STATES

Sarah A. Schnitker is an expert in the study of patience, self-control, gratitude, generosity, and thrift.

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Biography

Dr. Sarah Schnitker joined the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at Baylor University in fall 2018 as an Associate Professor. She holds a Ph.D and an M.A. in Personality and Social Psychology from the University of California, Davis, and a BA in Psychology from Grove City College. Prior to joining the faculty at Baylor University, Schnitker was an Associate Professor in the Thrive Center for Human Development at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Schnitker studies virtue and character development in adolescents and emerging adults, with a focus on the role of spirituality and religion in virtue formation. She specializes in the study of patience, self-control, gratitude, generosity, and thrift. Schnitker has procured more than $3.5 million in funding as a principle investigator on multiple research grants, and she has published in a variety of scientific journals and edited volumes. Schnitker is a Member-at-Large for APA Division 36 – Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, is a Consulting Editor for the organization’s flagship journal, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, and is the recipient of the Virginia Sexton American Psychological Association’s Division 36 Mentoring Award.

Industry Expertise (4)

Mental Health Care

Research

Education/Learning

Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (11)

Personal Goals

Adolescent Interventions

Spirituality

Thrift

Gratitude

Patience

Self-Control

Generosity

Religious Motivation

Positive Psychology

Personality Development

Accomplishments (1)

Mentoring Award

Virginia Sexton American Psychological Association’s Division 36

Education (3)

University of California, Davis: Ph.D., Personality and Social Psychology

University of California, Davis: M.A., Personality and Social Psychology

Grove City College: B.A., Psychology

Media Appearances (11)

When it comes to health, ‘patience is a virtue’

The Jerusalem Post  online

2020-02-27

Baylor psychology and neuroscience professor Sara Schnitker, Ph.D., an expert in virtue development including patience, is quoted in this column about patience when it comes to health.

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Professor hopes $2.6 million grant will assist in adolescent psychology research

Baylor Lariat  online

2019-09-05

Sarah Schnitker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, recently received a $2.6 million grant, along with a USC colleague, from the John Templeton Foundation for an on-going study of character development in adolescents. Schnitker joined the Baylor faculty in part because of the discussion around Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan, and the concentrated interest in human flourishing and human character development.

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Here’s how to curb your impatience once and for all, and finally feel less stressed

Big Think  online

2019-07-21

This article on patience quotes Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, and cites some of her research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Personality is only part of the story, she said. Habits, ability to regulate emotions and expectations affect how we respond with patience, as well as such variables as fatigue, illness, hunger, stress or even being overheated.

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How to Train Yourself to Be More Patient

NBC News  online

2019-07-09

This article on patience quotes Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, and cites some of her research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Personality is only part of the story, she said. Habits, ability to regulate emotions and expectations affect how we respond with patience, as well as such variables as fatigue, illness, hunger, stress or even being overheated.

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Here’s How to Curb Your Impatience Once and for All, and Finally Feel Less Stressed

Thrive Global  online

2019-06-26

This article about impatience quotes Sarah Schnitker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “Impatience is associated with cardiovascular problems. We have a lot of research showing that chronic stress and allowing yourself to be negatively impacted by daily stressors is not just bad for the physiological system — it can shorten your lifespan,” she said. But there are ways to avoid the consequences of impatience, and patient people often report higher life satisfaction.

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Baylor professor wins large grant

KWKT-TV  tv

2019-01-29

VIDEO: A Baylor professor has received a $2.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to conduct research to advance character-building in adolescents. “You have a unique opportunity during adolescence to help teenagers shape their identities, and think about character as something that is important to them and they should foster in their live. So it is a great time to intervene,” said Sarah Schnitker, Ph.D., professor of psychology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. The grant is geared toward developing programs engaging young people in places they already are, like churches and clubs.

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Baylor prof's $2.6 million grant to help youth programs instill character

Waco Tribune-Herald  print

2019-01-28

Sarah Schnitker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, is part of a duo that has received a $2.6 million grant from the Templeton Foundation to research “character strength interventions” and help youth organizations put them into practice. Under the award, $1.27 million will be designated for multiple sub-grant opportunities aimed at character strengths. The award also aligns with a signature academic initiative — human flourishing, leadership and ethics — of Illuminate, Baylor’s academic strategic plan, which focuses on an increase in research.

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Practise patience for a happier, healthier you

Health 24  online

2019-01-01

Baylor University psychologist Sarah Schnitker, who has been studying patience for more than a decade, found that people who are more patient also tend to be more hopeful and satisfied with their lives. And they're less likely to be stressed or depressed or experience health issues, like headaches and ulcers. [...]

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How to Be a More Patient Person

New York Times  online

2018-11-05

Sarah A. Schnitker, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University and a leading researcher on the topic of patience, suggests using a powerful technique called cognitive reappraisal, which means thinking about a situation differently. [...]

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The art of patience

WHYY Radio Times  online

2018-12-17

Our guests are SARAH SCHNITKER, associate professor of psychology at Baylor University, and JASON FARMAN, an associate professor at the University of Maryland and author of Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World. [...]

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Practice Patience for a Happier, Healthier You

HealthDay  online

2018-12-17

People who are more patient tend to be more hopeful and satisfied with their lives, says Sarah Schnitker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences. They’re also less likely to be stressed or depressed or experience health issues, such as headaches and ulcers, said Schnitker, who has studied patience for more than a decade. HealthDay is a leading producer and syndicator of evidence-based health news, video and custom content to top news websites.

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Research Grants (1)

Character Strength Interventions in Adolescents: Engaging Scholars and Practitioners to Promote Virtue Development

John Templeton Foundation $2,616,085

2018

The purpose of this project is to galvanize widespread scientific development of virtue interventions for adolescents across a diversity of contexts (e.g., athletic teams, religious organizations, youth community centers, online) that attend to spirituality and transcendent purpose.

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Articles (3)

High Goal Conflict and Low Goal Meaning are Associated with an Increased Likelihood of Subsequent Religious Transformation in Adolescents Journal of Research in Personality

Sarah A. Schnitker et al.

2019

Adolescence is one of the most common periods during which people report religious transformations (Regnerus & Uecker, 2006), but few studies have examined what variables might precipitate a transformation during adolescence. Based on early writings of James, 1902, Starbuck, 1911, we tested the hypotheses that adolescents are more likely to experience a religious transformation when they have (a) lower global meaning, (b) lower goal meaning, and (c) higher goal conflict. Participants (N = 137) were adolescents living in Western Europe involved in a service trip with Young Life, a non-denominational Christian organization. Participants with lower strivings meaning and higher strivings conflict before the trip were more likely to experience a religious transformation during the trip.

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Spiritual struggles and mental health outcomes in a spiritually integrated inpatient program Journal of Affective Disorders

Sarah A. Schnitker et al.

2019

Focusing on 217 adults who completed a spiritually integrated inpatient program, this study examined (1) which struggles in Exline et al.’s (2014) framework (Divine, Morality, Ultimate Meaning, Interpersonal, Demonic, and Doubting) represented the most salient indicators of major depressive disorder (MDD) symptomatology and positive mental health (PMH) and (2) whether alleviation of these struggles predicted improvements in patients’ mental health status over the treatment period.

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Mind the gap: evolutionary psychological perspectives on human thriving Journal of Positive Psychology

Sarah A. Schnitker et al.

2017

The amount of psychological literature focusing on human thriving and flourishing has grown in recent years, but this topic is currently subject to much conceptual ambiguity. Evolutionary psychology, though often not included in discussions on optimal human development, provides a framework that benefits considerations of human thriving. Humans exhibit a high degree of niche construction by which they alter their environment, in turn affecting their offspring. Such niche construction is enabled by unique human capacities, but these same capacities are then required to ‘mind the gap’ between human nature and the altered environmental niche. As such, thriving may in part be understood as the ability of the individual to navigate difficulties resulting from a mismatch between their nature and niche. Three unique features of the human species that are used to both create and navigate this gap are considered as they relate to the existing literature on human thriving.

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