Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be one of the biggest commitments a spouse will make and the most difficult experience to undertake. Undesired surprises of old age such as a spouse’s affliction with Alzheimer’s disease can increase the individual’s psychological distress and hinder his or her ability to cope with stressful situations. Religious and spiritual beliefs, activities and experience are believed to help distressed individuals bring emotional equilibrium into their lives.

In this study, I explored the influence of spiritual well-being, also religious wellbeing and existential well-being, on task-, emotion-, and avoidance-oriented coping among caregivers challenged by their loved one’s affliction with Alzheimer’s. I examined the caregivers’ (N= 35) perceived strain or burden using the Zarit Burden Interview (M = 37.09, SD = 12.05) and depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies for Depression Scale-Revised 20 (M= 111.57, SD = 11.63). I assessed their spiritual (M = 91.46, SD = 19.94), religious (M= 46.37, SD = 19.91), and existential (M= 45.09, SD = 8.98) well-being utilizing the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS). To dete nine their level of coping, I administered participants the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations: Situation Specific Version (CISS: SSC) with its three subscales: Task-Oriented (M = 46.11, SD = 10.68), Emotion-Oriented (M- 44.40, SD - 9.26), and Avoidance-Oriented (M= 48.97, SD — 11.36).

A multivariate three-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) revealed nonsignificant difference among caregivers’ task-oriented, emotion-oriented, or avoidance-oriented coping and their level of spiritual well-being (F = 1.504,/? = .241), religious well-being (F= 1.198,/? = .327), or existential well-being (F = 2.175, p = .120). Given the small sample of this study, further research is encouraged before making any conclusion about the effects of spirituality well-being on coping and enhancing caregivers’ quality of life and adjustment.