Bradley Wright

Professor of Sociology

B.A. University of California-Davis, 1985

Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1996


Laboratory web site:

Personal web site and blog: 



Bradley Wright is a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut and the director of the Life Purpose Lab. For two decades, he studied how people change their behavior in a variety of social contexts such as homelessness, crime, and religion. In recent years, his research has turned to the study of life purpose–which guides behavior change. His work uses innovative research methodologies such as smartphone-based surveys and field experiments. His publications have been cited over 5,000 times. He’s received multiple large grants from the John Templeton Foundation.

The Life Purpose Lab brings together faculty, staff, and students to study and promote the discovery of life purpose. It has developed a general model of purpose creation, discernment, and enactment. Using this model, it offers training programs that guide participants into a deeper, richer understanding of their own purpose in life.

He teaches courses on well-being and research methodology. His class on Social Well-Being is one of the most popular courses at the University, regularly enrolling hundreds of students. His teaching and mentoring have received departmental and university awards.

Bradley grew up in California and lives in Connecticut with his wife. They have two sons and a small, fluffy dog. His hobbies include cycling, hiking, and photography.



LifeCrafting: How to Change (Just About Any) Behavior (coauthored with Cathryn Entner Wright). 2023. Wipf & Stock. Synthesizes social scientific research on behavioral change with principles of Christian spirituality.

The Purpose Journal (coauthored with Andy Best). 2023. KDP. Presents principles of purpose discovery in the format of a daily journal.

Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World. 2011. Bethany House Publishers. Analyzes social and economic trends in the United States and world.

Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites… and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths from the Secular and Christian Media. 2010. Bethany House Publishers. Analysis of religious trends in America. Winner of Book of the Year Award in “Christianity and Culture,” Christianity Today.



Wright, Bradley R.E. 2018. “Field Experiments of Religion: A Dream Whose Time has Come.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 57(2): 193-205.

Baumeister, Roy F., Bradley R.E. Wright, and David Carreon. 2018. “Self-Control ‘In the Wild’: Experience Sampling Study of Trait and State Self-Regulation.” Self and Identity 18(5): 494-528.

Kucinskas, Jaime, Bradley R.E. Wright, and Stuart Riepl. 2018. “The Interplay between Meaning and Sacred Awareness in Everyday Life: Evidence from a Daily Smartphone Study.” The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 28(2): 71-88.

Kucinskas, Jaime, Bradley R.E. Wright, D. Matthew Ray, and John Ortberg. 2017. “States and Traits of Spiritual Awareness by Time, Activity, and Social Interaction.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 56(2): 418-37.

Gutierrez, Ian A., Crystal L. Park, and Bradley R.E. Wright. 2017. “When the Divine Defaults: Religious Struggle Mediates the Impact of Financial Stressors on Psychological Distress.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 9(4): 387-98.

Park, Crystal L., Bradley R.E. Wright, Jeremy Pais, and D. Matthew Ray. 2016. “Daily Stress and Self-Control.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 35(9): 738-53.

Wright, Bradley R.E., Michael Wallace, Annie Scola Wisnesky, Christopher M. Donnelly, Stacy Missari, and Christine Zozula. 2015. “Religion, Race, and Discrimination: A Field Experiment of How American Churches Welcome Newcomers.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 54(2): 185-204.

Wright, Bradley R.E., Michael Wallace, John Bailey, and Allen Hyde. 2013.“Religious Affiliation and Hiring Discrimination in New England: A Field Experiment.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 34: 111-26.

Donnelly, Chris and Bradley R.E. Wright. 2013. “Goffman Goes to Church: Face-Saving and the Maintenance of Collective Order in Religious Services.” Sociological Research Online 18(1): 18.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Christina Zozula, and W. Bradford Wilcox. 2012. “Bad News about the Good News: The Construction of the Christian-Failure Narrative.” Journal of Religion & Society 14.

Weakliem, David L., Gordon Gauchatg, and Bradley R. E. Wright. 2012. “Sociological Stratification: Change and Continuity in the Distribution of Departmental Prestige, 1965- 2007.” American Sociologist 43(3): 310-27.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Dina Giovanelli, Emily G. Dolan, and Mark Evan Edwards. 2011. “Explaining Deconversion from Christianity: A Study of On-Line Narratives.” Journal of Religion & Society, 13

McFarland, Michael J., Bradley R. E. Wright, and David L. Weakliem. 2011. “Educational Attainment and Religiosity: Exploring Variations by Religious Tradition.” Sociology of Religion 72(2): 166-88.

Wright, Bradley R. E. and C. Wesley Younts. 2009. “Reconsidering the Relationship between Race and Crime: Positive and Negative Predictors of Crime among African-American Youth.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 46(3): 27-352.

Weakliem, David and Bradley R. E. Wright. 2009. “Robustness of Group-Based Models for Longitudinal Count Data.” Sociological Methods & Research 38(1): 147-70.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Ray Paternoster. 2004. “Does the Perceived Risk of Punishment Deter Criminally-Prone Individuals? Rational Choice, SelfControl, and Crime.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 41(2): 180-213.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Phil Silva. 2001. “The Effects of Social Ties on Crime Vary by Criminal Propensity: A Life-Course Model of Interdependence.” Criminology 39(2): 321-48.

Baier, Colin and Bradley R. E. Wright. 2001. “’If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments’: A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Religion on Crime.” Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency 38(1): 3-21.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Phil Silva. 1999. “Low Self-Control, Social Bonds, and Crime: Social Causation, Social Selection, or Both?” Criminology 37(3): 479- 514.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, Richard Miech, and Phil Silva. 1999. “Reconsidering the Relationship between SES and Delinquency: Causation but Not Correlation.” Criminology 37(1): 175-94.

Wright, Bradley R. E. 1998. “Behavioral Intentions and Opportunities among Homeless Individuals: An Extension of the Theory of Reasoned Action.” Social Psychological Quarterly 61(4): 271-86.

Wright, Bradley R. E., Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Phil A. Silva. 1998. “Factors Associated with Doubled-Up Housing—A Common Precursor to Homelessness.” Social Service Review 72(1): 92-111.

Caspi, Avshalom, Bradley R. E. Wright, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Phil A. Silva. 1998. “Early Failure in the Labor Market: Childhood and Adolescent Predictors of Unemployment in the Transition to Adulthood.” American Sociological Review 63(3): 424-51.

Piliavin, Irving, Bradley R. E. Wright, Robert D. Mare, and Alex H. Westerfelt. 1996 “Exits from and Returns to Homelessness.” Social Service Review 70(1): 33-57.



Wright, Bradley R.E. “Can You Control Yourself? New Research on Willpower and Self-Control.” Christianity Today, May 2017 (cover story).

Wright, Bradley R.E. “Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church? Inside a New Experiment that Tests our Hidden Racial Biases.” Christianity Today, July/August 2015 (cover story).

Wright, Bradley R.E. “Your Faith Might Cost You Your Next Job.” Christianity Today, June 2014.

Wright, Bradley R.E. “The ‘War’ on Religion: A Closer Look at What America Really Thinks about Christians.” Relevant Magazine, May/June 2012.

Wright, Bradley R.E. “They Like You: What Americans Really Think about Evangelicals and Why We Worry About It.” Christianity Today, August 5 2011 (cover story).

Headshot of Bradley Wright
Contact Information
Phone860 486-3771
Curriculum Vitae Bradley Wright
Office Location320 Manchester Hall
Office HoursBy appointment