Close Menu

Patricia BruininksPatricia Bruininks

300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251
Phone: 509.777.4717
Fax: 509.777.3225
Office Location: Dixon Hall 209A


Ph.D. University of Oregon
M.S. University of Oregon
B.A. Hope College

Year Joined Whitworth Faculty


Areas of Specialization / Expertise

Emotion and decision-making; positive psychology; the difference between hope and optimism; the experience of hope over time; the psychology of love; the psychology of poverty

Selected Publications / Presentations / Honors

Publications include: co-author of "Distinguishing Hope from Optimism and Related Affective States" in Motivation and Emotion (2005); "Defining and Measuring Hope" in Dissertation Abstracts International (2002); co-author of  "It's Different When I Do It: Feature Matching in Self-Other Comparisons" in Personality and Psychology Bulletin (2002); co-author of "Affect, Experience and Aeronautical Decision-Making" in Proceedings of the Eleventh Symposium on Aviation Psychology (2001).

Invited seminars and lectures: "Hope, optimism, and the function of emotion," at the Arkansas Psychological Association, Little Rock (2009); a seminar, "Instilling Hope in Counseling and Psychotherapy," presented to counselors and ministers in three Texas locations through the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health (2008); "Understanding the Process, Sources and Temporal Nature of Hope" at the Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts Research Colloquium, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland (2006); "The Distinguishing Characteristics of Hope and Optimism" at the University of Arkansas (2004).

Presentations include: "The trait of hope as a predictor of hoped-for outcomes," at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles (2011); "Hope as a predictor of anticipated and actual disappointment," at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Cancun, Mexico (2010); co-presented "Hope: A nonpartisan emotion," at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Portland, Ore. (2009); co-presented "Hope, optimism, and the temporal nature of future outcomes," and "Distinguishing positive affect states via conceptual and experiential descriptions of emotion" at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Tampa (2009); co-presented posters, "Assessing the Cognitive and Emotional Features of Real-Life Hoping" and "Hoping Is Different from Hope: Unique Experiential Features in the Measurement of Emotion" at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting (2007); co-presented a poster, "Teaching What the World Needs Now (Love, Sweet Love)," at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Teaching of Psychology Pre-Conference (2007); presented a poster, "What I want vs. what I expect: Hope, optimism and the temporal proximity of future outcomes," at the Society for Judgment and Decision-Making (2006).

Awards include the Martin Seligman Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research in Positive Psychology (2005) and a Positive Psychology Summer Institute Research Award (2002). Co-recipient of a grant from The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love to develop a course on scientific and religious perspectives on love (2004) and an Emotion Research Training Grant (NIMH, 1999-2001).

Selected as "Most Influential Professor" by the Class of 2010.