All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Sylvie Mrug

Advisory Committee Members

Hector Gutierrez

Avi Madan-Swain

David Schwebel

Jan Wallander

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Issues of spirituality rise to the forefront for youth facing serious health conditions. Positive and negative spiritual coping strategies have been linked with better or worse psychological adjustment, respectively, in pediatric patients. With expansion of research in this area, an empirical synthesis and examination of the prospective relationships between spiritual coping and mental- and physical-health is needed. Accordingly, the first manuscript reports on meta-analytic review of the cross-sectional studies of spiritual coping, health, and psychosocial adjustment. Results revealed that greater use of negative spiritual coping is related to more internalizing problems and poorer quality of life across multiple pediatric illness populations. The second manuscript examined the longitudinal role of spiritual coping in psychological adjustment and found reciprocal relationships over a 2-year period between spiritual coping and depression among adolescents with cystic fibrosis or diabetes. The third manuscript examined the longitudinal role of spiritual coping in physical health outcomes among adolescents with cystic fibrosis, identifying positive spiritual coping as a key predictor of hospitalizations, pulmonary function, and nutritional status over a 5-year period. Addressing spiritual beliefs and adjustment difficulties in pediatric medical care is warranted.