Wellness/Resilience Research Team

Dr. Lightsey

Research Team Faculty Director: Dr. Richard Lightsey

Research Team Description: The Wellness/Resilience Research Team, led by Dr. Richard Lightsey, aspires to foster human well-being by enhancing understanding of resilience, stress-coping, and happiness. The team conceptualizes, conducts, and publishes varied studies related to well-being and wellness. In recent years, the team has:

  • Discovered factors (generalized self-efficacy, positive cognitions, and negative cognitions) that mediate or account for the well-known relationship between conscientiousness and meaning in life
  • Found that positive automatic thoughts account for the ability of personality traits (neuroticism and extraversion) to predict trait positive affect or emotion
  • Discovered that self-efficacy for ability to experience and express positive emotions uniquely predicts life satisfaction and psychological well-being, and buffers the relationship between stress and depression—suggesting that developing this belief can help prevent depression among people undergoing stress
  • Found that self-efficacy for ability to experience and express positive emotions and belief in the malleability of emotions and personality predicted greater happiness, and that generalized self-efficacy buffered the relationship between negative affect and happiness
  • Discovered that self-efficacy for ability to regulate negative emotions weakens the relationship between trait negative affect (a common vulnerability factor for psychological and physical problems) and life satisfaction
  • Ascertained the role of meaning, positive affect, positive and negative thoughts, and self-efficacy in shaping life satisfaction and psychological well-being
  • Tested how meaning in life leads to happiness
  • Discovered factors that aid psychological growth after trauma
  • Shown how purpose in life and reasons for living help reduce risk of suicide
  • Determined forms of coping that reduce pain-related distress
  • Found mechanisms—such as beliefs and types of thinking—through which personality may affect well-being, as well as potential ways to reduce the harmful effects of personality traits such as neuroticism.
  • Discovered malleable cognitive factors that predict declines in neuroticism and trait negative affect, even over short time periods.
  • Explored cross-cultural differences in meaning in life.

The team has recently collected data on approximately eight projects and is now crafting studies to help assess or develop people's self-efficacy, meaning in life, self-esteem, resilience, and happiness. Please join us for an exciting endeavor that aims to engage, intrigue, and expand awareness as it aids human welfare. Drop us a line anytime for more information at olightsy@memphis.edu or (901) 678-2841. Happiness to you!

Below is a link to a TV appearance on PBS station WKNO in which Dr. Lightsey discussed recent findings about happiness and aging.

http://video.wkno.org/video/2317089966

Current Research Team Members (as of Fall, 2015): Whitney Stubbs, Stephanie Zuckerman, April Reupke, Ben Smith, William Ramsey, Adam Fischel, Sarah Hatcher, Andrea Davis, Kait Duckett

Current Projects: As described above, upcoming studies will focus on assessing or developing people's self-efficacy, meaning in life, self-esteem, and resilience, and examining whether these augmented personal strengths enhance happiness, increase stress-coping, and decrease negative emotions. Over the next year, the team will focus primarily on crafting, submitting, and (when necessary) revising papers based on completed data collections. Many of these projects have been presented at conferences between 2013 and 2016 and are listed below under "Sample Presentations."

Select Publications:
Lightsey, O. J., Boyraz, G., Ervin, A., Rarey, E. B., Gharibian Gharghani, G., & Maxwell, D. (2014). Generalized self-efficacy, positive cognitions, and negative cognitions as mediators of the relationship between conscientiousness and meaning in life. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 46(3), 436-445. doi:10.1037/a0034022

Boyraz, G., Lightsey, O. J., & Can, A. (2013). The Turkish version of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire: Assessing the measurement invariance across Turkish and American adult samples. Journal of Personality Assessment, 95(4), 423-431. doi:10.1080/00223891.2013.765882

Lightsey, O. J., McGhee, R., Ervin, A., Gharghani, G. G., Rarey, E. B., Daigle, R. P., & ... Powell, K. (2013). Self-efficacy for affect regulation as a predictor of future life satisfaction and moderator of the negative affect—Life satisfaction relationship. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(1), 1-18. doi:10.1007/s10902-011-9312-4

Lightsey, O. J., Gharghani, G. G., Katz, A. M., McKinney, V. A., & Rarey, E. B. (2013). Positive automatic cognitions mediate the relationship between personality and trait positive affect. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(1), 115-134. doi:10.1007/s10902-011-9319-x

Wang, M., Lightsey, O. R., Tran, K. K., & Bonaparte, T. S. (2013). Examining suicide protective factors among Black college students. Death Studies, 37(3), 228-247. doi:10.1080/07481187.2011.623215

Boyraz, G., & Lightsey, O. J. (2012). Can positive thinking help? Positive automatic thoughts as moderators of the stress–meaning relationship. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(2), 267-277. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.2012.01150.x

Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Johnson, E., & Freeman, P. (2012). Can positive thinking reduce negative affect? A test of potential mediating mechanisms. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 26, 71-88. doi: 10.1891/0889-8391.26.1.71

Select Conference Presentations:
Reupke, A.G., & Lightsey, O. R., Jr. (2016). Psychosocial costs of racism mediate the interracial interactions—anxiety relationship. Poster accepted for presentation at the 2016 American Psychological Association Convention.

Zuckerman, S., & Lightsey, O. R., Jr. (2016). What predicts suicide among psychologists? Vulnerability and Protective Factors. Poster accepted for presentation at the 2016 American Psychological Association Convention.

Smith, Ben N. IV, & Lightsey, O.R., Jr. (2016). Resiliency, self-efficacy and mindfulness as buffers of the stress—well-being relationship. Poster accepted for presentation at the 2016 American Psychological Association Convention.

Sweeney, J.E., & Lightsey, O.R., Jr. (2016). Self-efficacy as a moderator of the experiential avoidance—well-being relationship. Poster accepted for presentation at the 2016 American Psychological Association Convention.

Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Ingram, C. L., Wright, K. F., Murray, A. N., Allen, B. N., Reupke, A. G. Smith, B. N. IV, Sobieski, J., Holley, K. A., & Stubbs, W. (2014). Differential predictive validity of resilience-related measures. Poster presented at the 2014 American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.

Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Ingram, C. L., Wright, K. F., Murray, A. N., & Allen, B. N. (2014). Trait resilience and self-efficacy buffer the negative affect-well-being relationship. Poster presented at the 2014 American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.

Hatchett, E. S., Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Wright, K. F., Murray, A. N., Ingram, C. L., Allen, B. M., Stubbs, W., Holley, K. A., Reupke, A. G., Smith, B. N. IV, Sobieski, J., Zuckerman, S., Duckett, K., & Gibson, B. W. (2014). Protective factors in the relationship between urgency and bulimic behavior. Poster presented at the 2014 American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.

Ingram, C. L., Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Murray, A. N., Wright, K. F., Allen, B. M., Reupke, A. G., Smith, B. N. IV, Sobieski, J., Xu, Y. J., Holley, K. A., & Stubbs, W. (2014). Empirical comparison of wellness enhancement interventions: Preliminary results of a pilot study. Poster presented at the 2014 American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.

Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Ingram, C. L., Wright, K. F., Allen, B. M., McGhee, R. A., Ervin, A., Murray, A. N., & Voss, J. C. (2013). Automatic thoughts mediate the trait affect—life satisfaction relationship. Poster presented at the 2013 American Psychological Association Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Lightsey, O. R., Jr., McGhee, R. A., Ervin, A., Wright, K. F., Rarey, E. B., Gharibian Gharghani, G., Daigle, R. P., & Constantin, D. (2013). Self-efficacy for affect expression and regulation predict psychological well-being. Poster presented at the 2013 American Psychological Association Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Murray, A., Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Ingram, C. L., Voss, J. C., Ervin, A., Allen, B. M., Wright, K. F., & McGhee, R. A. (2013). General and self-regulatory emotional self-efficacy predict lower future neuroticism. Poster presented at the 2013 American Psychological Association Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Lightsey, O. R., Jr., McGhee, R.A., Ervin, A., Gharibian Gharghani, Rarey, E. B., Katz, A. M., & McKinney, V. A. (2012). Self-efficacy for regulation of negative affect moderates the stress—post-traumatic growth relationship. Poster presented at the 2012 American Psychological Association Convention, Orlando, Florida.

Boyraz, G., Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Ingram, C. L., Allen, B. M., Ervin, A., Wright, K. F., Murray, A. N., Voss, J. C., McGhee, R. A., Rarey, E. B., Gharibian Gharghani, G., Daigle, R. P., & Constantin, D. (2012). Generalized self-efficacy and cognitions as mediators of the conscientiousness-meaning relationship. Poster presented at the 2012 American Psychological Association Convention, Orlando, Florida.

Lewallen, K. C., Lightsey, O. R., Jr., Powell, K., Daigle, R. P., & McGhee, R. A. (2012). Generalized self-efficacy, caring for peers with eating disorders, and well-being. Poster presented at the 2012 American Psychological Association Convention, Orlando, Florida.

Ingram, C. L., Lightsey, O. R., Jr., McGhee, R. A., Murray, A. N., Ervin, A., Allen, B. M., Wright, K. F., Voss, J. C., & Gharibian Gharghani, G. (2012). Do negative automatic thoughts predict trait negative affect? Poster presented at the 2012 American Psychological Association Convention, Orlando, Florida.