Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing

First Advisor

Patricia Underwood

Second Advisor

Mary Horan

Third Advisor

Patricia Broten


The main purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between spirituality and depression in family caregivers of the elderly. Data for this secondary study came from a caregiver research project conducted by Given and Given (1989). Although the primary study was longitudinal, this study used a cross-sectional, descriptive correlational design. A convenience sample of 191 family caregivers participated. Data on spirituality and depression were obtained by self-administered questionnaires. Spirituality was measured with the Spiritual/Philosophical subscale from the Coping Resources Inventory (Hammer & Marting, 1988). The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (Radloff, 1977) was slightly modified and used to measure depression. The study findings included: (a) a moderately weak negative correlation between the variables of spirituality and depression (r = {dollar}-{dollar}.2934, df = 189, p {dollar}<{dollar}.001) and (b) the majority of caregivers (62.3%) indicated that spirituality was a consistent resource in their lives. Limitations to the study included the use of a convenience sample and the use of a relatively new subscale to measure spirituality.


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