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Faculty Profile - Ward Davis

Ward Davis, Psy.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

On Faculty since 2012
630.752.7053
BGC M242


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Dr. Ward Davis (Psy.D., Regent University) is an Associate Professor of Psychology, the Founder and Director of the Psychology and Spirituality Research Lab, and a Faculty Fellow in the Wheaton College Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI). Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at Rosemead School of Psychology (Biola University), where he received the Rosemead Outstanding Faculty Award in 2012. He has over 50 publications and has made over 70 professional presentations, mostly focusing on God representations and the psychology of religion and spirituality. He has been the Co-Principal-Investigator on two research grants with the John Templeton Foundation--one studying natural disaster survivors ($1.9 million) and the other studying humility in humanitarian aid leadership ($220,000). He also is a licensed clinical psychologist and serves on the Editorial Board of two APA journals: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (PRS, Associate Editor) and Spirituality in Clinical Practice (SCP, Consulting Editor). At Wheaton College, Dr. Davis teaches doctoral-level classes, mainly on psychological assessment.

Biola University
Postdoctoral Psychology Fellowship, Biola University and the Biola Counseling Center, La Mirada, CA, 2012

Southern Louisiana Internship Consortium, LSU
Predoctoral Psychology Internship, Baton Rouge, LA, 2010

Regent University
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, 2010

Regent University
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 2007

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A. with Highest Honors, Psychology, 2002

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
B.A. with Highest Distinction, History, 2002

  • Psychology of Spirituality and Religion
  • Positive Psychology
  • Assessment Psychology
  • Multicultural Psychology
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • APA Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality)
  • Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS)
  • Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (PRS), Associate Editor
  • Spirituality in Clinical Practice (SCP), Consulting Editor
  • PSYC 743 Psychological Assessment I: Cognitive Foundations (PsyD)
  • PSYC 744 Psychological Assessment II: Personality Foundations (PsyD)
  • PSYC 797 Practicum Seminar (PsyD)
  • PSYC 716 Clinical Interviewing (PsyD)

Dr. Davis directs the Psychology and Spirituality Research Lab (PSRL), which is a research team in the Wheaton College Psychology Department. PSRL is comprised of Wheaton graduate and undergraduate psychology students. The mission of PSRL is to advance the scientific study of spirituality to promote health and well-being. PSRL research and resources focus on the intersections between psychology and spirituality, with an emphasis on Christian spirituality.

More narrowly, Dr. Davis’s research interests center on relational spirituality--that is, the ways people view and relate to God. In particular, his research focuses on the scientific study of God representations, including how people conceptually view and experientially relate to God (e.g., doctrinal representations ["head knowledge"] and experiential representations ["heart knowledge"], respectively). His other research interests include positive psychology, multicultural psychology, and assessment psychology.

Aten, J. D. & Davis, E. B. (Co-Principal Investigator) (Dec. 2016 - Aug. 2019). Humility in the Context of Humanitarian Aid Work Leadership (a $220,000 subcontract project in Developing Humility in Leadership, Co-Principal Investigators: Peter C. Hill, Joshua N. Hook, & Don E. Davis, Funded: $1.9 million).

Aten, J. D., Davis, E. B. (Co-Principal Investigator), Boan, D., Van Tongeren, D. R., Davis, D. E., Hook, J. N. (Aug. 2015 - July 2018). Earth as a School: Finding Meaning, Relating to God, and Experiencing Growth After a Natural Disaster. Funded: $1.9 million.

Cuthbert, A. D., Davis, E. B. (Co-Investigator), Aten, J. D., & Yarborough, C. A. (2014 – present). A Church-Based Humility Intervention Study. John Templeton Foundation. Funded: $22,000. Consultants: E. L. Worthington, Jr., D. E. Davis, Jr., J. N. Hook, D. R. Van Tongeren, & C. R. Lavelock.

Davis, E. B. (November, 2016). G. W. Aldeen Faculty Research Grant. Funded: $4,675.

Davis, E. B. (February, 2016). PsyD Faculty Research Grant. Funded: $1,500.

Davis, E. B. (December, 2015). Academic Technology Grant. Funded: $8,000.

Davis, E. B. (November, 2015). G. W. Aldeen Faculty Research Grant. Funded: $4,675.

Davis, E. B. (May, 2015). PsyD Faculty Research Grant. Funded: $1,500.

Davis, E. B. (November, 2014). G. W. Aldeen Faculty Research Grant. Funded: $4,500.

Davis, E. B. (November, 2014). Diversity & Justice Initiative Faculty Mini-Grant. Funded: $1,000.

Davis, E. B. (May, 2014). PsyD Faculty Research Grant. Funded: $500.

Theistic relational spirituality: Development, dynamics, health, and transformation, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Davis, E. B., Granqvist, P., & Sharp, C., 2018

Religious meaning making and attachment in a disaster context: A longitudinal qualitative study of flood survivors, Journal of Positive Psychology
Davis, E. B., Kimball, C. N., Aten, J. D., Andrews, B., Van Tongeren, D. R., . . . Park, C. L., 2018

Faith in the wake of disaster: A longitudinal qualitative study of religious attachment following a catastrophic flood, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Davis, E. B., Kimball, C. N., Aten, J. D., Hamilton, C., Andrews, B., . . . Chung, J., 2018

Measures of God representations: Theoretical framework and critical review, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Sharp, C. A., Davis, E. B., George, K., Cuthbert, A. D., Zahl, B. P., . . . Aten, J. D., 2018

Cultivating humility in religious leaders: The effectiveness of a spiritually integrated positive psychology intervention, Spirituality in Clinical Practice
Cuthbert, A. D., Davis, E. B., Aten, J. D., Short, A., Yarborough, C. A., . . . Van Tongeren, D. R., 2018

The psychological study of religion and spirituality in a disaster context: A systematic review, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Aten, J. D., Smith, W., Davis, E. B., Van Tongeren, D. R., Hook, J. N., . . . Hill, P., 2018

Posttraumatic growth and trauma in flood survivors: Contributions of attitudes toward God, Journal of Mental Health Counseling
Zeligman, M., McElroy, S. E., Davis, E. B., Davis, D. E., & Dispenza, F., 2018

Religious factors and global meaning violation in Louisiana flood survivors, Traumatology
Dispenza, F., Davis, E. B., McElroy, S. E., Davis, D. E., Zeligman, M. R., . . . Hook, J. N., 2018

Religious coping, dispositional forgiveness, and posttraumatic outcomes in adult survivors of the Liberian civil war, Spirituality in Clinical Practice
Ochu, A. C., Davis, E. B., Magyar-Russell, G., O’Grady, K. A., & Aten, J. D., 2018

Benevolent theodicies protect against PTSD following a natural disaster, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
McElroy-Heltzel, S. E., Davis, E. B., Davis, D. E., Aten, J., Hook, J. N., Van Tongeren, D. R., & Hwang, J., 2018

A grounded theory of the practice of disaster spiritual and emotional care: The central role of practical presence, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Schruba, A. N., Aten, J. D., Davis, E. B., & Shannonhouse, L. R., 2018

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute: A training model for graduate-level psychology and counseling programs, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Aten, J. D., Boan, D., Davis, E. B., & Schruba, A. N., 2018

Advancing scientific research on disasters, religion, and spirituality, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Davis, E. B., Aten, J. D., Van Tongeren, D., Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., DeBlaere, C., & Shannonhouse, L. R., 2018

Religious/spiritual struggles alter God representations, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Van Tongeren, D. R., Sanders, M., Edwards, M., Davis, E. B., Aten, J. D., . . . Davis, D. E., 2018

Students in faith-based doctoral psychology programs: Religious/spiritual struggles moderate the effect of distress from clinical work on negative affect, Journal of Psychology and Theology
Strosky, D., Wang, D., Hill, P. C., Long, J., Davis, E. B., & Cuthbert, A. D., 2018

Religion, spirituality, and meaning in the wake of disasters, In S. E. Schulenberg (Ed.), Disaster mental health and positive psychology
Van Tongeren, D. R., Aten, J. D., Davis, E. B., Davis, D. E., & Hook, J. N., 2018

Faith and disaster mental health: Research, theology, and practice, In H. Gingrich & F. Gingrich (Eds.), Treating trauma in Christian counseling and psychotherapy
Aten, J. D., Schruba, A., Entwistle, D., Davis, E. B., Ranter, J., Hwang, J., . . . & Van Tongeren, D. R., 2017

Collaboration between clergy and mental health professionals in disaster contexts: Lessons from the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, Spirituality in Clinical Practice
Curtis, J. B., Aten, J. D., Smith, W., Davis, E. B., Hook, J. N., . . . Cuthbert, A. D., 2017

Attachment avoidance to God exacerbates the negative effect of tangible resource loss on psychological resource loss, Mental Health, Religion, & Culture
Massengale, M., Davis, D. E., DeBlaere, C., Zelaya, D. G., Shannonhouse, L., Van Tongeren, D. R., Hook, J. N., Aten, J. D., Davis, E. B., & Hill, P., 2017

Humility and psychotherapist effectiveness: Humility, the therapy relationship, and psychotherapy outcomes, In E. L. Worthington, Jr., D. E. Davis, & J. N. Hook (Eds.). Handbook of humility: Theory, research, and application
Davis, E. B., & Cuthbert, A. D., 2017

The meaning as a buffer hypothesis: Spiritual meaning attenuates the effect of disaster-related resource loss on posttraumatic stress, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Haynes, W. C., Van Tongeren, D. R., Aten, J. D., Davis, E. B., Davis, D. E., Hook, J. N., Boan, D., & Johnson, T., 2016

Culturally adapted spiritually oriented trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for child survivors of Restavek, Spirituality in Clinical Practice
Wang, D. C., Aten, J. D., Boan, D., Jean-Charles, W., Griff, K. P., Valcin, V., Davis, E. B., . . . & Wang, A., 2016

God image narrative therapy: A mixed-methods investigation of a controlled group-based spiritual intervention, Spirituality in Clinical Practice
Olson, T., Tisdale, T. C., Davis, E. B., Park, E., Nam, J., Moriarty, G. L., Davis, D. E., Thomas, M. J., Cuthbert, A. D., & Hays, L. W., 2016

Ebola as an existential threat? Experimentally primed Ebola reminders intensify national-security concerns among extrinsically religious individuals, Journal of Psychology and Theology
Van Tongeren, D. R., Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Aten, J. D., & Davis, E. B., 2016

Enlarging the psychology of religion and spirituality research paradigm: Introduction to the special section on qualitative and mixed methods, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Davis, E. B., & Tisdale, T. C., 2016

Using qualitative and mixed methods to study relational spirituality, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Davis, E. B., Cuthbert, A. D., Hays, L. W., Aten, J. D., Van Tongeren, D. R., Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., & Boan, D., 2016

Efficacy of religion-accommodative strategic hope-focused theory applied to couples therapy, Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice
Ripley, J. S., Leon, C., Worthington, E. L., Jr., Berry, J. W., Davis, E. B., Smith, A., Atkinson, A., & Sierra, T., 2014

Relational spirituality and forgiveness: Appraisals that may hinder forgiveness, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Davis, D. E., Van Tongeren, D. R., Hook, J. N., Davis, E. B., Worthington, E. L., Jr., & Foxman, S., 2014

Spiritual formation training in the Wheaton College Psy.D. program: Nurturing the growth of servant-oriented practitioner-scholars, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Flanagan, K. S., Pressley, J. D., Davis, E. B., Aten, J. D., Sanders, M., Carter, J. C., Jackson, A., & Kent, J., 2013

God images and god concepts: Definitions, development, and dynamics, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Davis, E. B., Moriarty, G. L., & Mauch, J. C., 2013

Client God images: Theory, research, and clinical practice, In J. Aten, K. O’Grady, & E. Worthington, Jr. (Eds.), The psychology of religion and spirituality for clinicians: Using research in your practice
Moriarty, G. L., & Davis, E. B., 2012

Dr. Ward Davis directs the Psychology and Spirituality Research Lab (PSRL), which is a research team in the Psychology Department at Wheaton College. PSRL is comprised of Wheaton graduate and undergraduate psychology students. The mission of PSRL is to advance the scientific study of spirituality to promote health and well-being. At PSRL our research and resources focus on the intersections between psychology and spirituality, with an emphasis on Christian spirituality. Our activities primarily include: (a) writing scholarly articles and book chapters; (b) conducting original research and disseminating our findings; and (c) offering downloadable resources for use by scholars, scientists, practitioners, and leaders, as well as the interested public.