Empirical Testing

Relationship between spirituality and the psychological adjustment to cancer Hypotheses

  • Regardless of life threat, spirituality will be associated with higher quality of life and lower negative psychological distress in cancer patients.
  • Spirituality will be most beneficial to those patients who appraise their illness as highly life threatening. The relations between spirituality and negative psychological outcomes is moderated by life threat.


  • Participants: a sample of 95 cancer patients (diagnosed within the past 5 years) from 6 metropolitan area hospitals
  • Measures
    • Demographic and medical history
    • Patients' appraisal of life threat
    • Religious and existential dimensions of spirituality
    • Symptoms of psychopathology and psychological distress
    • Quality of life

Regardless of how life threatening they perceived their illness to be, cancer patients with high levels of spirituality had less distress, symptom severity and better quality of life.

Laubmeier, Zakowski and Bair, 2004

Appraised Control, Coping and Stress in a Community Sample: A Test of the Goodness-of-Fit Hypothesis


  • Appraised controllability is positively related to the use of problem-focused coping and negatively to the use of emotion-focused coping
  • Regardless of control appraisal of the stressor, problem focused coping strategies are generally more effective in reducing distress than emotion-focused strategies (main-effects hypothesis).
  • The type of coping, either emotion-focused or problem-focused, would interact with control appraisal such that the combination of low control and high emotion-focused coping would be associated with the least stress, and vice versa for problem-focused coping (goodness-of-fit hypothesis).


  • Participants: a sample of 72 parents of healthy and chronically ill children (44 women and 28 men) from the Washington, DC area
  • Measures
    • Demographics
    • Ways of Coping Checklist Revised (WCCL-R) factors: problem-focused, support seeking, self-blame, wishful thinking, avoidance coping
    • Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) - this study examined the depression and anxiety subscales
    • Proofreading performance


  • Appraised control significantly predicted type of coping
  • Data did not support the main-effects hypothesis
  • Goodness-if-fit hypothesis partly confirmed - appraised control by coping interactions were significant for emotion-focused coping

Zakowski, et al., 2001