Date of Conferral







Alethea Baker


The psychological burden of cancer treatment affects not only child patients but also their parents. There is extensive literature on the positive influence of spirituality on the cancer patient. But there is a gap in the literature on the potential healing influence of spirituality on the parent of the cancer or hematology patient. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between spirituality and parents' levels of depression and anxiety during their child's hematological or oncology treatment. Using the transtheoretical model of change, a purposive sample of 48 parents of children undergoing cancer or hematology treatment completed a demographic form and the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES), which was used to divide participants into two groups, spiritual and nonspiritual, based on their median scores. Participants then completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), which were used as indices of psychological resiliency. These data were analyzed using independent samples t tests and ANOVA to determine if scores on the DSES predicted a difference between groups on both the BDI and the BAI. No significant effects were found. In order to clearly identify the role spirituality plays in mediating resiliency for coping with a life-threatening illness, more precise operational definitions and measures for the construct of psychological resiliency are needed. Implications for positive social change include a better understanding of the role spirituality plays in improved psychological resilience in times of medical crisis. Implementing such programs will lead to social change in the manner in which we counsel and approach parents facing this crisis.