Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
In recent years the efficacy of psychotherapy has undergone scrutiny; research has sought to find the client, therapist, and therapy factors that induce positive outcomes in therapy. Religious variables, however, have not been extensively investigated. Religious values, as well as psychiatric symptoms, are altered by participation in psychotherapy. Therefore, a study to assess whether psychotherapy alters psychiatric symptoms and religious variables was needed. This investigation examined depression, as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and a general measure of spiritual health, as represented by the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWB) . Data was collected at the beginning of treatment and sixty days into treatment.
A quasi-experimental nonequivalent contrast groups design was used. Two groups of psychotherapy outpatients in the Pacific Northwest (designated Group 1 and Group 2), were used as two separate samples. Both groups were administered the BDI, SWB, and a demographic questionnaire in the pretest; the BDI, SWB, and a religious questionnaire were administered in the posttest.
Two hypotheses were tested in this study: (a) SWB scores will rise as a result of psychotherapy, and, (b) BDI scores will fall as a result of psychotherapy. Results supported these hypotheses. Significant differences were noted from the pretest to the posttest. However, the groups themselves did not differ.
The SWB also significantly correlated with church attendance, profession of faith, hours of service, and personal devotions. While the two groups reported very different religious behaviors, SWB and BDI scores from two groups correlated significantly with one another.
Although firm causal conclusions cannot be stated, these results support the hypotheses that psychotherapy increases a person's spiritual well-being while decreasing depression.
Renfroe, Thomas Wilson Jr., "The Effect of Psychotherapy on Spiritual Well-Being and Depression in Outpatient Adults" (1990). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 280.