Coordinator, Children's Studies Minor

Educational Background

  • B.A. "with distinction" in psychology, Boston University
  • M.A. psychology, Brandeis University
  • Ph.D. developmental psychology, Brandeis University

Classes Taught Recently

  • PSYC 207, Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 297, Applied Research Methods in Developmental
  • PSYC 304, Advanced Developmental Psych
  • PSYC 307, Culture and Child Development
  • PSYC 329, Independent Study
  • CAPS 491, Children's Studies

Research Interests

I have always been interested in child development, and at Bucknell I teach many courses in that field. In addition to a long-standing commitment to developmental psychology, in the past decade I have become very involved in the psychology of religion. I have integrated these fields through conducting work in the area of religious and spiritual development, especially in childhood through the early adult years. I've written many invited chapters for handbooks and edited volumes to explore and illuminate children's religious and spiritual development. I hope this work achieves two major professional goals of mine: to help developmental psychologists better understand this core but neglected dimension of human development, and to help psychologists who study religion pay more attention to the childhood and adolescent forms and functions of religion and spirituality.

One topic that intrigues me is how parents and children communicate about spiritual and religious issues, and in this work I've used a multi-method approach with quantitative and qualitative methods. Another topic I've studied with many students is what we call "God in the bod"-women's spirituality and religiosity in relation to their body image and eating behavior. Another broad interest of mine is religiosity and spirituality in the college years, and how these dimensions relate to other variables and aspects of well-being. Many of these projects are motivated by students' particular interests.

I am also interested in other domains of religious and spiritual development. I have collaborated with scholars at Bowling Green State Univ. and Penn State-Harrisburg to examine the importance of “spiritual intimacy” in relationship satisfaction between college students and their parents, siblings, close friends, and romantic partners. In addition, my students and I have studied families in Appalachia to learn how parents' religiosity is linked to their attitudes toward spanking and their children's attitudes toward aggression. In a recent honors thesis, we studied prayer behavior in young teenagers and college students to examine links between types of prayer and well-being. In another thesis, we used a computerized Implicit Attitude Test on college students' views of religion, family, and divorce. Several years ago, my students and I worked at nearby Geisinger Medical Center to analyze the role of faith in cardiac patients' recovery from myocardial infarction and coronary bypass. Another student studied Bucknell students’ use of religious and secular coping with anxiety about the Iraq war.

In addition to my research, I have organized and edited three special issues of journals, in Applied Developmental Science (2004, co-edited with Pamela King of Fuller Theological Seminary), The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion (2006), and Review of Religious Research (2003). Also, since 2001, I have organized a biennial preconference (which meets prior to the Soc. for Research in Child Development meeting) on religious and spiritual development that brings together major scholars and students. I am also an active member on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence at the Search Institute in Minnesota.

Other Activities

  • President-Elect, Div. 36 (Psychology of Religion) of the American Psychological Association
  • Associate Editor of the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Editorial Board of Journal of Adolescent Research, Journal of Family Psychology, Teaching of Psychology, and The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion

Selected Publications

(*indicates a student co-author)


Boyatzis, C. J. (in press). Development of spirituality in children and adolescents. In L. Miller (Ed.), Oxford handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality. Oxford University Press.

Boyatzis, C. J. (in press). Agency, voice, and maturity in children's religious and spiritual development. In S. Bales (Ed.), Children and religion: A methods handbook. New York University Press.

Boyatzis, C. J. (2009). Examining religious and spiritual development during childhood and adolescence. In L. Francis (Ed.), The international handbook on education for spirituality, care, and well-being (pp. 51-68). Springer.

Boyatzis, C. J., Dollahite, D., & Marks, L. (2006). The family as a context for religious and spiritual development in children and youth. In E. C. Roehlkepartain, P. E. King, L. Wagener, & P. Benson (Eds.), Handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence (pp. 297-309). Sage Publications.

Johnson, C. N., & Boyatzis, C. J. (2006). Cognitive-cultural foundations of spiritual development. In E. C. Roehlkepartain, P. E. King, L. Wagener, & P. Benson (Eds.), Handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence (pp. 211-223). Sage Publications.

Boyatzis, C. J. (2005). Children's religious and spiritual development. In R. F. Paloutzian & C. L. Park (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality (pp. 123-143). Guilford Publications.

Boyatzis , & Janicki, D. (2003). Parent-child communication about religion: A survey and diary assessment of unilateral transmission and bi-directional reciprocity. Review of Religious Research, 44, 252-270.*


Homan, K. J., & Boyatzis, C. J. (2010). Religiosity, sense of meaning, and health behaviors in older adults. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.

Homan, K. J., & Boyatzis, C. J. (2010). Attachment to God as a protective factor in the etiology of eating disturbance: Cross-sectional and prospective evidence. Eating Disorders, 18, 239-258.

Homan, K. J., & Boyatzis, C. J. (2009). Body image in older adults: Links with religion and gender. Journal of Adult Development, 16, 230-238.

Boyatzis, C. J., & Quinlan, K. B. (2008). Women's body image, disordered eating, and religion: A critical review of the literature. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 19, 183-208.*

Boyatzis, C. J., Kline, S., & Backof, S. (2007). Experimental evidence that theistic/religious body affirmations improve women's feelings about their appearance. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 46, 553-564.*

Boyatzis, C. J., Trevino, K. M., Manning, A. E., & Quinlan, K. (2006). The role of religion and spirituality in women's body image and eating behavior: Qualitative and quantitative approaches and clinical implications. Counseling and Spirituality, 25, 29-51.*



Places I've Been

The following links are virtual breadcrumbs marking the 27 most recent pages you have visited in If you want to remember a specific page forever click the pin in the top right corner and we will be sure not to replace it. Close this message.