Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations

Evaluating a Spiritually Integrated Intervention for Depressed College Students

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Kenneth Pargament

Second Advisor

Annette Mahoney (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Michael Zickar (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Michael Coomes (Committee Member)


With a sample of 65 mildly and moderately depressed undergraduates, the present study evaluated the effects of a spiritually integrated intervention as compared to a secular intervention and a no treatment control condition. The spiritual intervention and secular intervention were of equivalent length and were offered to participants via the internet. Participants completed criterion measures for psychological and spiritual well being at three time points during the course of the study: at the outset of the study, directly following the five-week interventions, and one month following the completion of the interventions. Results of statistical significance testing suggested that the explicit inclusion of spirituality in an intervention for depression does not offer resources that are unique to the problems of depression. More specifically, participants reported similar psychological improvement across all three conditions. However, follow-up and exploratory analyses suggested that participants who completed the spiritually integrated intervention reported less depression and more positive affect than other participants. Results from statistical and clinical significance testing are discussed.