S. Katherine Nelson-Coffey

S. Katherine Nelson-Coffey
University of the South | Sewanee · Psychology

Ph.D.

About

61
Publications
39,578
Reads
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2,398
Citations

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between parenthood and well-being has become a hot topic among scholars, media, and general public alike. The research, however, has been mixed-some studies indicate that parents are happier than nonparents, whereas others suggest the reverse. We suggest that the question of whether parents are more or less happy than their childle...
Article
Full-text available
Recent scholarly and media accounts paint a portrait of unhappy parents who find remarkably little joy in taking care of their children, but the scientific basis for these claims remains inconclusive. In the three studies reported here, we used a strategy of converging evidence to test whether parents evaluate their lives more positively than do no...
Article
Full-text available
When it comes to the pursuit of happiness, popular culture encourages a focus on oneself. By contrast, substantial evidence suggests that what consistently makes people happy is focusing prosocially on others. In the current study, we contrasted the mood- and well-being-boosting effects of prosocial behavior (i.e., doing acts of kindness for others...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we investigated the association between positive emotion expression in children’s writing at age 11, as indicated by objective raters, and age 50 self-reported well-being outcomes—positive emotions, optimism, life satisfaction, meaning in life, social well-being, and physical health. Using a representative sample (N = 436) from the U...
Chapter
The concept of eudaimonia originates in Aristotelian philosophy, which posits that people must live up to their fullest potential to promote a sense of flourishing. In recent decades, psychological scientists have sought to operationalize and empirically investigate the causes and consequences of eudaimonia. To date, many psychological definitions...
Article
Attachment insecurity undermines emotions, well-being, and adaptive parenting behaviors. In this experiment (N = 614), we investigate whether expressing gratitude improves parents’ emotions, feelings of connectedness, well-being, and parenting outcomes. Furthermore, we evaluate whether a specific type of gratitude – safe haven gratitude – is especi...
Article
Full-text available
People with reduced levels of mental well-being might be at risk for developing future mental illness. Although several positive psychology interventions successfully improve mental well-being and psychological distress, less is known about their efficacy in a sample at risk for mental disorders. A Dutch sample of 289 participants with low or moder...
Article
Positive psychology approaches have been shown to play a vital role in protecting mental health in times of challenge and are, therefore, important to include when studying the psychological outcomes of COVID-19. While existing research has focused on individual psychological health, this paper focuses on collective wellbeing and collective posttra...
Article
Rationale Substantial health behavior change (e.g., social distancing, mask-wearing) is needed to slow COVID-19. Yet, adherence to these guidelines varies, and avoiding social contact may contribute to declines in emotional adjustment. Objective and methods Drawing on prior research linking social motives to health behavior and well-being, we inve...
Article
People rely on their social relationships to help them cope with many stressors over the course of their lives. Across three experiments, we randomly assigned people to experience minor adversity or not and then to experience perceived social support (via belonging affirmation) or not. We found that those who underwent adversity without perceived s...
Article
Full-text available
Research on awe has grown exponentially in recent decades; however, few studies have considered whether awe-inspiring experiences also inspire other emotions. In two studies, we explored whether interventions targeting awe also evoke other discrete emotions. Additionally, we considered two constructs that may be associated with increases in each em...
Article
Objective. Working parents of young children often face work–family conflict, but little is known about the impact of this stressor on distress tolerance in the parenting role. We examined whether work–family conflict is associated with heightened work–family guilt and reduced infant distress tolerance, and we tested whether these effects are stron...
Article
The experiences of mothers and fathers are different in ways that could affect their well-being. Yet few studies have comprehensively examined gender differences in parents' well-being. In the current research, we investigated such gender differences in a large representative sample (Study 1a; N = 13,007), in a community sample using validated well...
Article
Full-text available
Interventions rarely have a universal effect on all individuals. Reasons ranging from participant characteristics, context and fidelity of intervention completion could cause some people to respond more positively than others. Understanding these individual differences in intervention response may provide clues to the mechanisms behind the interven...
Data
Complete results for interaction model for wellbeing response. (DOCX)
Data
Basic model for wellbeing response using cases with complete predictor information. (DOCX)
Data
Basic model for mental health response using cases with complete predictor information. (DOCX)
Data
Fit statistics for mental health outcome models. (DOCX)
Data
Difference between drop outs and non dropouts. (DOCX)
Data
Basic model for wellbeing response. (DOCX)
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Variance inflation factors of potential predictors. (DOCX)
Data
Exploratory t-to-enter statistics for potential level 2 predictors of wellbeing change. (DOCX)
Data
Fit statistics for wellbeing outcome models. (DOCX)
Data
Basic model for mental health response. (DOCX)
Data
Exploratory t-to-enter statistics for potential level 2 predictors of mental health change. (DOCX)
Data
Complete results for interaction model for mental health response. (DOCX)
Data
Complete results for interaction model for wellbeing response, not including effort measures as predictors. (DOCX)
Data
Complete results for interaction model for mental health response, not including effort measures as predictors. (DOCX)
Data
Power curve of interaction effect of agreeableness during the intervention phase for wellbeing outcome. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
Anecdotal evidence abounds suggesting that as compared to fathers, mothers report greater guilt regarding the negative impact of work on family (WIF-guilt), yet shockingly few quantitative studies have evaluated gender differences or correlates of WIF-guilt. In five studies, we provide an in-depth exploration of parents’ feelings of guilt regarding...
Article
Full-text available
Perhaps unlike other social roles that people may hold, caring for children offers opportunities for both immense joy and incredible frustration. Yet what predicts how parents will feel during caregiving experiences? In the current study, we examined parents' (N = 152) positive emotion, negative emotion, and felt meaning during caregiving using the...
Article
Context: Prosocial behavior is linked to longevity, but few studies have experimentally manipulated prosocial behavior to identify the causal mechanisms underlying this association. One possible mediating pathway involves changes in gene expression that may subsequently influence disease development or resistance. Design, setting, participants:...
Article
Full-text available
Miscarriage is a devastating yet common experience shared by women and their partners. Doctors often recommend that couples attempt to conceive again after the experience of a miscarriage, yet little is known about the emotional toll of conception following miscarriage. In the current study, we addressed two primary research questions: (a) How does...
Article
Full-text available
The transition to parenthood is a watershed moment for most parents, introducing the possibility of intra-individual and interpersonal growth or decline. Given the increasing number of dual-earner couples in the United States, new parents’ attitudes towards employment (as well as the ways in which they balance employment and personal demands) may h...
Chapter
The value of gratitude has been recognized for centuries, but researchers have only begun to investigate gratitude within the past few decades. In a short time, considerable evidence has accumulated that gratitude is associated with superior mental health outcomes – both the absence of mental illness and the presence of psychological well-being. In...
Article
Across two studies, we found evidence supporting a positive feedback loop between positive activities, kindness and well-being. In Study 1, participants were randomly assigned to one of four distinct positive activities (versus a neutral writing activity) before spending three weeks engaging in kind acts. We found that the positive activities serve...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic and environmental influences on complex traits can change in response to developmental and environmental contexts. Here we explore the impact of a positive activity intervention on the genetic and environmental influences on well-being and mental health in a sample of 750 adolescent twins. Twins completed a 10-week online well-being interve...
Data
Standardized Means (Standard Deviations) for Well-Being and Mental Health. (DOCX)
Data
Phenotypic Correlations Within Well-Being and Mental Health Across Time. (DOCX)
Data
Fit Statistics for Multilevel Models of Intervention Response. (DOCX)
Data
Intervention instructions: The text used in the intervention for both the control activities and the positive activities. (DOCX)
Article
Guided by the uncertainty navigation model, this study examined experiences of uncertainty associated with trying to conceive and identified predictors of this experience using a multi-method approach. 429 American adults from Amazon's Mechanical Turk who had a child under age three completed online questionnaires regarding their experiences trying...
Article
Full-text available
Our article reviews and celebrates Susan Nolen-Hoeksema's remarkable contributions to psychological and clinical science, focusing on her vast body of theoretical and empirical work and her influence on colleagues and students. Susan spent her career trying to understand how and why a style of regulating emotions called rumination increases vulnera...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: This commentary reviews current conceptualizations of well-being, examines explanations for the lack of attention to well-being research, and provides justification for investing research time and funding into well-being studies. Opportunities for integrating factors related to well-being into prevention and intervention programs are als...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has demonstrated a strong link between prosocial behavior - particularly autonomous prosocial behavior - and well-being. Little is known, however, about whether and how autonomy might be boosted in the context of everyday kindnesses. We tested the effect of supporting students’ autonomy on well-being gains from practicing acts of...
Article
Full-text available
Limited work has examined how self-affirmation might lead to positive outcomes beyond the maintenance of a favorable self-image. To address this gap in the literature, we conducted two studies in two cultures to establish the benefits of self-affirmation for psychological well-being. In Study 1, South Korean participants who affirmed their values f...
Article
Full-text available
Electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry in the alpha frequency band has been implicated in emotion processing and broad approach-withdrawal motivation systems. Questions remain regarding the cognitive mechanisms that may help elucidate the observed links between EEG asymmetry and patterns of socioemotional functioning. The current study observed front...
Article
Full-text available
At the top of parents' many wishes is for their children to be happy, to be good, and to be well-liked. Our findings suggest that these goals may not only be compatible but also reciprocal. In a longitudinal experiment conducted in 19 classrooms in Vancouver, 9- to 11-year olds were instructed to perform three acts of kindness (versus visit three p...
Article
Empirical and anecdotal evidence for hedonic adaptation suggests that the joys of loves and triumphs and the sorrows of losses and humiliations fade with time. Notably, adaptation to positive experiences in particular has been identified as one of the primary obstacles to maintaining well-being. In this article, we first review evidence of hedonic...
Article
Full-text available
A 4-week-long experiment examined the effects of a positive activity intervention in which students wrote about their “best possible selves” (BPS) once a week. We manipulated two factors that might affect the success of the happiness-increasing activity—whether the positive activity was administered online versus in-person and whether the participa...
Article
Full-text available
Socially withdrawn individuals display solitary behavior across wide contexts with both unfamiliar and familiar peers. This tendency to withdraw may be driven by either past or anticipated negative social encounters. In addition, socially withdrawn individuals often exhibit right frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry at baseline and when und...
Article
Full-text available
Research in the field of positive psychology has revealed many advantages of positive emotions. According to the undoing hypothesis of Fredrickson and Levenson, positive affect can undo the physiological effects of negative emotion. The present study examined whether positive emotions could undo the cognitive effects of negative emotion. A letter i...
Article
Full-text available
Developing interventions to increase happiness is a major focus of the emerging field of positive psychology. Common beliefs about the need to reduce stress to obtain happiness suggest that stress management activities should be included in these interventions. However, the research on the relationship between positive and negative affect is equivo...
Article
Full-text available
Developing interventions to increase happiness is a major focus of the emerging field of positive psychology. Common beliefs about the need to reduce stress to obtain happiness suggest that stress management activities should be included in these interventions. However, the research on the relationship between positive and negative affect is equivo...

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