Assistant Professor of Psychology
B.A., Creighton University; M.S.W., University of Michigan; M.A. and Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University


John K. Coffey II has taught at Sewanee since 2015. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from Creighton University, a M.S.W. with a specilizaiton in interpersonal practice from the University of Michigan, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Positive Developmental Psychology from Claremont Graduate University.

Professor Coffey has worked with a wide range of children experiencing mental health concerns and suboptimal development. For example, he worked as a child and family therapist in outpatient and crisis settings in Detroit, Michigan. In addition, He spent several years working in a treatment group home for children in foster care and a middle school for children with mental health concerns. He served 4-years as an Executive Committee Member of the Student Division of the International Positive Psychology Association including one year as the President (2013-2014).

In his research, Professor Coffey uses a developmental systems perspective focused on human plasticity as a way to understand the development of psychological well-being and maladaptation. He integrates contemporary developmental theories of relationships and emotions with positive psychology theories of well-being to test early life determinants (e.g., parent-child relationship, emotions) of adolescent and adult indicators of well-being (e.g., physiological indicators of health, life satisfaction) and psychopathology (e.g., depression). Furthermore, his research seeks to identify individual and contextual factors that precede and shape later life constructs (e.g., satisfaction with life) that are not possible for children as a way to prevent psychopathology.

Beyond his teaching and research, Professor Coffey enjoys a range of activities including hiking, soccer, swimming, socializing with friends and family, cooking, reading, and playing the occasional video game.

Courses offered

100 Introduction to Psychology
223 Positive Psychology
224 Developmental Psychopathology
251 Research Methods and Data Analysis (lab)
416 Attachment Theory: development, well-being, and risk for psychopathology