MELANIE MUNROE (MA, University of Toronto) is currently a second-year PhD student in the Wisdom & Identity Lab at the University of Toronto working with Dr. Michel Ferrari. She is also the Site Manager for the Canadian team for the “Motivating the Self to Virtue in Western and Non-Western Countries: Does Nation or Faith Matter More” project. To learn more about Ms. Munroe’s research, see her Research Gate profile.
My current area of expertise focuses on how adolescents and emerging adults react to and cope with various challenging life events. More specifically, my doctoral dissertation seeks to determine whether coping styles act as a mediator in the relationship between wisdom and post-traumatic growth. My interest in this area of work began during my undergraduate degree at Brock University. I was involved in various research studies that examined undergraduate students who had undergone difficult life events or were struggling with mental health issues. From this point on, I was always interested in why some individuals could become resilient following trauma, and even more interested in those that appeared to have positive change following these difficult life events. Coming into the Wisdom & Identity Lab for my Master’s degree to work with Dr. Michel Ferrari, I began to develop an interest in how wisdom is related to growth following adversity.
Understanding factors which influence post-traumatic growth will help promote positive psychological well-being among younger adults. It is important to understand how to promote growth at all stages of development to provide the necessary resources to help individuals who have experienced a traumatic event. By evaluating post-traumatic growth in emerging adulthood, early intervention programs targeted at promoting positive coping and skills necessary to achieve growth can be developed that will greatly benefit young adults in this formative period of their lives.
I have been working with Dr. Michel Ferrari at the University of Toronto since I started my Master’s degree in 2014. He asked me to join this project as a research assistant when it first began and I have moved on to become the Site Manager of the Canadian team of researchers. I met one of our collaborators, Dr. Hyeyoung Bang, at the 2015 American Psychological Association Annual Convention. Dr. Ferrari had invited me to present some of my work on his cross-cultural dataset in a symposium on “Cultural studies of wisdom” that was chaired by Dr. Bang.
The part of our research team’s project that connects most with my area of interest is how individuals understand and cope with the various types of moral dilemmas and temptations that they encounter in their life. More specifically, I am interested in how participants conduct themselves when faced with moral dilemmas and how their resolution of these events can lead to personal growth. This is important for the field of developmental psychology to better understand how individuals can develop the skills necessary to cope with challenging situations and are able to learn and further grow from these events.
Being a team member on this project has afforded me the opportunity to learn more about conducting mixed-methods research, managing a research team, and exploring cross-cultural differences in moral motivation. The knowledge I have gained from working with experts in the field is irreplaceable. This project will contribute to the ever-growing field of moral psychology. Understanding cultural or faith-based determinants of motivation to virtue will significantly contribute to the moral reasoning literature and help to further establish the connection between moral virtue and wisdom.