Assistant Professor of Psychology
Wake Forest University

Visit our Pathways to Character site here and learn more about our funding competition here
Learn about our 2017 Wisdom Seminar at Fordham University here
Visit the Growth Initiative site here
Visit the Beacon Project site here
Visit the Character Project site here

Here's a link to an article at Slate.com where I discuss the question of whether adversity can build character.
Here a link to a NY Times piece about some research I did with my colleague Erik Helzer on well-being and control.

Here's a video of me discussing well-being at the 2014 NAIS Well-Being Summit

YouTube Video


You can email me at jayawide at wfu.edu.

And if you came to this website looking for answers to the question of how you could become happier, you could do worse than start here. Or here.

I received my Ph.D. in positive and social/personality psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. With my colleague and former post-doc Laura Blackie, I do work on understanding post-traumatic growth in terms of permanent positive personality change among war-affected populations in Rwanda and Sri Lanka as well as various populations in the USA.  In addition, I'm broadly interested in questions related to moral personality, growth following adversity, integrative theories of personality and the study of well-being. My interest in the scientific study of character has its origins in my undergraduate research, which explored moral behavior from the perspective of ecological psychology. I'm also interested in the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of positive psychology. 
Trained in both psychology and moral philosophy, I graduated with summa cum laude honors from Franklin & Marshall College in 2005, and was awarded the Henry S. Williamson Medal, the college's highest student award presented annually to the outstanding senior of the graduating class. My awards include the 2015 Rising Star designation from the Association for Psychological Science, grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, the Asia Foundation/ USAID, the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism, and the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania; a Mellon Refugee Initiative Fund Fellowship, and numerous academic awards from Franklin & Marshall College.