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Jennifer L. Smith, PhD – Director of Research

Dr. Smith joined the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging research team in June 2013. She contributes to Mather LifeWays mission of creating Ways to Age Well by conducting research on resilience and psychological well-being in older adults, care providers, and the workforce. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing the Quality of Life and Satisfaction Surveys for Mather LifeWays residents, customers, and employees. Dr. Smith is also an associate managing editor for the Seniors Housing and Care Journal.

Dr. Smith earned a doctorate in Social Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Her research focuses on ways to enhance psychological well-being and reduce the detrimental effects of stressors and negative life events, including the development and evaluation of interventions to increase happiness and boost resilience. Her experience areas include:

  • Resilience
  • Happiness and psychological well-being
  • Savoring and positive emotion regulation
  • Self-regulatory processes and strategies
  • Interpersonal relationship functioning

Selected Publications:

Bryant, F.B. & Smith J. L. (2015). Appreciating life in the midst of adversity: Savoring in relation to mindfulness, reappraisal, and meaning. Psychological Inquiry, 26, 315-321.

Smith, J. L. (2015). Self-compassion and resilience in senior living residents. Senior Housing and Care Journal, 23, 16-31.

Smith, J. L., & Hollinger-Smith, L. (2015). Savoring, resilience, and psychological well-being in older adults. Aging and Mental Health, 19, 192-200.

Smith, J. L., Harrison, P., & Bryant, F. B. (2014). Enjoyment. In A. C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Heidelberg, Springer.

Smith, J. L., Harrison, P. R., Kurtz, J. L., & Bryant, F. B. (2014). Nurturing the capacity to savor: Interventions to enhance the enjoyment of positive experiences. In A. C. Parks (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Positive Psychological Interventions. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Smith, J. L., & Bryant, F. B. (2013). Are we having fun yet? Savoring, Type A behavior, and vacation enjoyment. International Journal of Wellbeing, 3, 1-19.

DeHart, T., Longua, J. E., Smith, J. (2011). To enhance or protect the self?: The complex role of explicit and implicit self-esteem. In M. Alicke & C. Sedikides (Eds.), The Handbook of Self- enhancement and Self-protection (pp. 298-331). New York: Guilford Press.