Kaye V. Cook

Professor, Department of Psychology
Department Chair
Director, Center for Evangelicalism & Culture
Project Leader, Templeton Planning Grant Proposal, "Evangelicalism in Modernizing Cultures: Brazil and China"
Fellow at Biola’s Center for Christian Thought, Fall 2013, Theme: Spiritual Formation
Project Director, CCCU Initiative Grant (2008-2012), "Challenges of Emerging Adulthood"
Licensed Clinician, Private Practice

B.A., Math, Georgia College and University, Milledgeville
M.A., Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Master's Thesis: The verbal and nonverbal sharing of 2-and 3-year-olds
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Dissertation: The learning of kindness

Research Profile
Kaye Cook has been a member of the psychology department at Gordon College since 1978. She has long-term research interests in culture, values in context, gender issues, qualitative research, and moral and faith development. As a licensed clinician and writer, she specializes in the developmental issues of women, of immigrants seeking asylum, and of emerging adults.

Contact Information
Ken Olsen Science Center 346
Gordon College
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham MA  01984
p: 978.867.4402


Provost’s Summer Research Fellowship to examine the dominant moral ethics, religious values, and career strivings in Brazilian-American and Chinese-American subcultures in the Boston area. Isabelle Skillen will work with me as student collaborator on this project.


John Templeton Foundation Planning grant to empower evangelical leaders in Brazil and China to better address social, political, and religious challenges in their home countries.  Our hope is to establish an international center at Gordon whose purpose is to support the equipping of evangelical leaders worldwide (consistent with the Gordon mission statement).   During this planning grant year, we have made multiple trips to Brazil and China (during which we conducted 230 interviews in Brazil, China and Boston).  We have produced a book manuscript with Peter Berger (Faith in a Pluralist Age) and several chapters and presentations.  We have hosted Brazilian and Chinese pastors from Boston at a luncheon and mini-conference, academics who do research on the church in Brazil and China, and multiple speakers.


Provost Summer Research Fellowship to explore everyday understandings of grace, sin, and suffering in Hong Kong Christians, in collaboration with Dr. Harry Hui, Hong Kong University.  Also during the summer, Taylor-Marie Funchion and Si-Hua Chang are working with me to complete a book chapter and analyze the data from a parallel study on grace, sin, and suffering that was conducted with Chinese-American students.


We received surveys from over 1,300 of you, including 80 undergraduates, and interviewed 159 of you! Thank you particularly to those 80 who completed the endless survey twice! You then participated in two interviews! We did not realize, at the beginning, how much we were asking of you. At the end, we were overwhelmed by your generosity. Thank you, in particular, to this select group.

Some findings:

  • Christian college graduates retain their faith, to a striking degree!
  • Christian college graduates show some “moralistic therapeutic deism”, a watered-down kind of faith identified by Christian Smith (preeminent sociologist and Gordon College graduate) but their faith is much more accurately characterized as a strong, orthodox faith that is practiced within community
  • Most Christian college graduates stay within their home denominations or choose to attend a denomination that is similar to their home denomination.
  • There are few differences between recent and long-term alumni. Thoughtfulness about and questioning of faith peaks around graduation and drops off afterwards; ego identity commitment increases with time; and those who make commitments in faith, love, and work show higher well-being.
  • First-year students perceive the most stress in their lives, and perceived stress drops off significantly during their senior year and even immediately after graduation (surprisingly enough), and continues to drop off during the next four years. Perceived stress is measured by asking participants such questions as whether they feel in control of their lives.
  • In contrast to their perception of how much stress they are under, when asked how much stress they are experiencing (e.g., did you change jobs last year? did a parent die?), participants reported that stress peaks during the first year of college and immediately after graduation.
  • Females are more stressed than males (but they do not perceive themselves as any more stressed).
  • Females cope better than males. If they are more stressed, how can this be?!
  • Females have somewhat more mature, internalized faith (as measured by intrinsic religiosity).
  • Females also use their religion to cope with stress more than males, and this improves coping.
  • Females have stronger peer attachments, that males, when they have strong peer relationships, benefit from them as much as do females.

A press release and more fuller description of one component of the study, which explores the power of Freedom within the Framework of Faith, is available for download by clicking on the links to the right.

For further information, please email: . Blessings!

Kaye Cook


A listing of Dr. Cook's accomplishments.

Kaye Cook's CV (DOC)
Click here to download Dr. Cook's curriculum vitae

Research Report: Is a Christian Education Worth It (PDF)
A study of student development and well-being by Kaye Cook, Ph.D.

Evangelicals in Brazil and at Gordon (DOCX)
An unlikely partnership?

Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood (DOCX)
Essay distributed to Council of 125

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (PPTX)
Do Christian College Undergraduates and Alumni Maintain Their Faith?