Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D.

Sarah A. Schnitker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
High Res Photo

Associate Professor of Psychology


Ph.D., 2010, Personality and Social Psychology, University of California, Davis

M.A., 2006, Personality and Social Psychology, University of California, Davis

B.A., 2003, Psychology, Grove City College


Dr. Sarah Schnitker joined the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at Baylor University in fall 2018 as an Associate Professor. She holds a PhD and an MA 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 $7 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. For more information, please view Dr. Schnitker's CV.

Find Dr. Schnitker on Twitter: @DrSchnitker

Active Grants

Gratitude to God: Psychological, Philosophical, and Theological Investigations, Phase 2 (Co-Investigator; Principal Investigators: Peter Hill, Robert Emmons; Co-Investigators: JoAnn Tsang). John Templeton Foundation (January 2020-December 2022, #61513). Total Award $4,032,851, Baylor Subaward $253,056.

Measuring the (Im)measurable: A Psychological Model of the “Something More” that Humans Encounter in and through Art (Co-Investigator; Co-Principal Investigators: Kutter Callaway, Wade Rowatt). Templeton Religion Trust (July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2022, #0345). $234,499.95.

Planning Grant: Galvanizing the Psychological, Philosophical, and Theological Study and Practice of Patience (Co-Investigator: Juliette Ratchford). Templeton Religion Trust (January 2021-May 2023,#0314). $234,800.

The Role Of Meta-Identity In Developing Moral Communities Within Higher Education (Principal Investigator; Co-Investigator: Perry Glanzer). John Templeton Foundation (December 2021 – November 2024, #62208). $2,698,693.

Representative Publications (* indicates student co-author)

Schnitker, S. A., `Shubert, J., *Ratchford, J. L., Lumpkin, M., & Houltberg, B. J. (in press). Mixed results on the efficacy of the CharacterMe smartphone app to improve self-control, patience, and emotional regulation competencies in adolescents. Frontiers in Psychology.

Abernethy, A. D., Currier, J. M., Schnitker, S. A., Witvliet, C. V. O., Root Luna, L. M., Foster, J. D., VanHarn, & Carter, J. (in press). Inpatient perspectives on the appropriateness of spiritually integrated interventions. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Schnitker, S. A., *Medenwaldt, J. M., & *Williams, E. G. (2021). Religiosity in adolescence. Current Opinion in Psychology, 40, 155-159.

Schnitker, S. A., *Williams, E. G., & *Medenwaldt, J. M. (2021). Personality and social psychology approaches to religious and spiritual development in adolescents. Adolescent Research Review. Advance online publication.

`Shubert, J., *Ratchford, J., Houltberg, J., & Schnitker, S. A. (2020). Differentiation as discrepancies in adolescents’ perceptions of patience: An illustration of response surface analysis. Journal of Positive Psychology. Advance online publication.

^*Ratchford, J. L., ^Schnitker, S. A., & *Reppas, P. (2020). The virtue of thrift: A person-centered conceptualization and measure development. Journal of Happiness Studies. Advance online publication. 2-020-00235-7

`Shubert, J., Houltberg, B., *Ratchford, J. L., & Schnitker, S. A. (2020). Examinations of change in inhibitory and initiatory self-control in the context of endurance running. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Advance online publication.

*Lynch, B. L., *Hunt-Felke, T. J., *Ratchford, J. L., & Schnitker, S. A. (2020). Religious affiliation, self-stigma, and economic outcomes among the Quichua of Ecuador. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Advance online publication.

Pawl, T., *Ratchford, J. L., & Schnitker, S. A. (2020). Growth in patience in Christian moral wisdom and contemporary positive psychology. Journal of Beliefs & Values. Advance online publication.

*Hinkel, H.M., *Isaak, S.L., Abernethy, A.D., Witvliet, C.V.O.,  Schnitker, S. A., Root Luna, L.M., & Currier, J.M. (2020). Religiousness, meaning and quality of life: Test of a mediational model among psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Advance online publication.

Schnitker, S. A., *Ro, D., Foster, J. D., Abernethy, A. D., Currier, J. M., Witvliet, C. V. O., Root Luna, L. M., Putnam, K., VanHarn, K., & Carter, J. (2020). Patient patients: Increased patience associated with decreased depressive symptoms in psychiatric treatment. Journal of Positive Psychology, 15, 300-313. doi:10.1080/17439760.2019.1610482

Schnitker, S. A., *Gilbertson, M., Houltberg, B., Hardy, S. A., & *Fernandez, N. (2020). Transcendent motivations and virtue development in adolescent marathon runners. Journal of Personality, 88, 237-248.

Schnitker, S. A., Houltberg, B., *Fernandez, N. A., & `Shubert, J. (2020). Bidirectional associations across time between entitativity, positive affect, generosity, and religiousness in adolescents training with a religiously-affiliated charity marathon team. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, Article 686. doi:10.3390/ijerph17030686

Schnitker, S. A., Houltberg, B. J., *Ratchford, J. L., & Wang, K. T. (2020). Dual pathways from religiousness to the virtue of patience versus anxiety among elite athletes. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 12, 294-303.

Callaway, K., *Kawakami Gilbertson, M., & Schnitker, S. A. (2020). Not all transcendence is created equal: Distinguishing the ontological, phenomenological, and subjective beliefs about transcendence. Philosophical Psychology, 33, 479-510.

Schnitker, S. A., *Ratchford, J. L., & *Lorona, R. (2020). How can joy escape jingle-jangle? Virtue and telos conceptualizations as alternative approaches to the scientific study of joy. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15, 44-48. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2019.1685572

Abernethy, A. D., Currier, J. M., Witvliet, C. V. O., Schnitker, S. A., Putman, K. M., Root Luna, L. M., Foster, J. D., *Spencer, A., *Jones, H., VanHarn, K., & Carter, J. (2020). Understanding the role of religious comfort and strain on depressive symptoms in an inpatient psychiatric setting. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 12(3), 366–375.

*Shepherd, A. M., Schnitker, S. A., & *Greenway, T. S. (2019). Religious service attendance, moral foundations, God concept, and in-group giving: Testing moderated mediation. Review of Religious Research, 61, 301-322. doi:10.1007/s13644-019-00384-z

*Greenway, T. S., *Jin, J., *Shepherd, A. M., & Schnitker, S. A. (2019). Beyond the Liberal-Conservative binary: Generosity, religion, and a latent profile analysis of Moral Foundations Questionnaire responses from a Christian sample. American Behavioral Scientist, 63, 1938-1964. doi:10.1177/0002764219850867

^Schnitker, S. A., ^*Ratchford, J., Emmons, R. A., & Barrett, J. L. (2019). High goal conflict and low goal meaning are associated with an increased likelihood of subsequent religious transformation in adolescents. Journal of Research in Personality, 80, 38-42. doi:10.1111/jopy.12481

Currier, J. M., Foster, J. D., Witvliet, C. V. O., Abernethy, A. D., Root Luna, L. M., Schnitker, S. A., VanHarn, K., & Carter, J. (2019). Spiritual struggles and mental health outcomes in a spiritually integrated inpatient program. Journal of Affective Disorders, 249, 127-135.

^Schnitker, S. A., ^King, P. E., & Houltberg, B. J. (2019). Religion, spirituality, and thriving: Transcendent narrative, virtue, and telos. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 29, 276-290. doi:10.1111/jora.12443

Schnitker, S. A., & *Richardson, K. L. (2018). Framing gratitude journaling as prayer amplifies its hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, but not health, benefits. The Journal of Positive Psychology. doi:10.1080/17439760.2018.1460690

*Greenway, T. S., Schnitker, S. A., & *Shepherd, A. M. (2018). Can prayer increase charitable giving? Examining the effects of intercessory prayer, moral intuitions, and theological orientation on generous behavior. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 28, 3-18. doi:10.1080/10508619.2017.1406790

*Shepherd, A. M., Schnitker, S. A., Leffel, G. M., Oaks-Mueller, R. A., Curlin, F. A., Yoon, J. D., & *Greenway, T. (2018). Developing the Good Physician: Spirituality affects the development of virtues and moral intuitions in medical students. Journal of Positive Psychology, 13, 143-154. doi:10.1080/17439760.2016.1269185

Schnitker, S., Houltberg, B., Dyrness, W., & *Redmond, N. (2017). The Virtue of Patience, Spirituality, and Suffering: Integrating Lessons from Positive Psychology, Psychology of Religion, and Christian Theology. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 9, 264-275.

*Thomas, R. M., & Schnitker, S. A. (2017). Modeling the Effects of Within-Person Characteristic and Goal-Level Attributes on Personal Project Pursuit Over Time. Journal of Research in Personality, 69, 206-217. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2016.06.012

Schnitker, S. A., *Felke, T. J., *Fernandez, N. A., *Redmond, N., & *Blews, A. E.  (2017). Efficacy of self-control and patience interventions in adolescents. Applied Developmental Science, 3, 165-183. doi:10.1080/10888691.2016.1178578

Currier, J., Foster, J., Abernethy, A., Witvliet, C., Root Luna, L., Putman, K., Schnitker, S., VanHam, K., & Carter, J. (2017). God imagery and affective outcomes in a spiritually-integrative inpatient program. Psychiatry Research, 254, 317-322. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.05.003

Houltberg, B. J., Wang, K. T., & Schnitker, S. A. (2017). Religiousness and perceived God perfectionism among elite athletes. Journal of the Christian Society for Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Studies, 4, 29-46.

*Strenger, A. M., Schnitker, S. A., & *Felke, T. J. (2016). Attachment to God moderates the relation between sociocultural pressure and disordered eating behaviors as mediated by emotional eating. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 19, 23-36. doi:10.1080/13674676.2015.1086324.

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. doi:10.1037/a0035359

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

Current Post-Docs

Merve Balkaya-Ince
Madiha Tahseen

Current Ph.D. Students

Juliette Ratchford
Jay Medenwaldt

Current Psy.D. Students

Jane Zimmermann

Graduate Student Recruitment

Dr. Schnitker may recruit a Ph.D. student in Fall 2022.

Courses taught at Baylor

  • PSY 3310 - Social Psychology