Thomas V. Merluzzi

Thomas V. Merluzzi


Ph.D., The Ohio State University 

  • Clinical

(574) 631-5623

121 Haggar Hall

Notre Dame, IN 46556

Lab for Psycho-oncology Research

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Coping processes in people with cancer and cancer survivors from the perspective of social learning theory and, in particular, self-regulation and self-efficacy theories.


Merluzzi studies coping processes in people with cancer and cancer survivors from the perspective of social learning theory and, in particular, self-regulation and self-efficacy theories. His work includes the following:

• Development and refinement of the Cancer Behavior Inventory (CBI; Merluzzi & Martinez Sanchez, 1997; Merluzzi et al., 2001; Heitzmann, Merluzzi et al., 2011), a widely-used measure of self-efficacy for coping with cancer. The CBI has been translated into many languages and is used world-wide. Version 3.0 of the CBI is forthcoming (Merluzzi et al., under review)

• Development of conceptual models of the transition from cancer treatment to cancer survivorship (Philip, Merluzzi, Zhang et al., 2013; Merluzzi et al, 2016; Philip & Merluzzi, 2016) that include the refinement and analysis of the measurement of distress, barriers to help-seeking, and the dynamics of coping resources such as self-efficacy for coping and social support. Recent work is also focusing on assessing moderators of distress (e.g., social resources, satisfaction with care) and facilitators and inhibitors of help-seeking.

• Integration of modern psychological theory with traditional approaches to religious/spiritual coping in persons with cancer (Nairn & Merluzzi, 2003; Merluzzi, 2007; Howsepian & Merluzzi, 2009; Sherman, Merluzzi et al, 2015). Current projects focus on the historical, conceptual and practical aspects of relinquishing control or “letting go” (Merluzzi & Philip, under review; Serpentini, Capovilla, & Merluzzi, 2016).  Also, please view the following: (

• Psychosocial issues in racial health disparities in quality of life (Merluzzi, Philip, Zhang, & Sullivan, 2015). Current projects are focusing on a threshold-restraint theory that explains the impact of perceived discrimination on the quality of life of African Americans with cancer.


Recent Publications

Merluzzi, T.V., Philip, E.J., Yang, M., Heitzmann, C.A. (in press). Matching of received social support with need for support in adjusting to cancer and cancer survivorship. Psycho-Oncology.

Philip, E.J. & Merluzzi, T.V. (in press). Symptom burden and psychosocial stressors in post-treatment cancer survivors: Desire for support and challenges in identifying individuals in need. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology.

Merluzzi, T.V., Philip, E.J., Zhang, Z., & Sullivan, C. (in press). Perceived discrimination, coping, and quality of life for African-American and Caucasian persons with cancer. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Salsman, J.M., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T.V., Sherman, A.C., & Park, C.L. (in press). Religion, spirituality, and health outcomes in cancer: A case for a meta-analytic investigation. Cancer.

Salsman, J.M., Pustejovsky, J.E., Jim, H.S.L., Munoz, A.R., Merluzzi, T.V., George, L., Park, C.L., Danhauer, S.C., Sherman, A.C., Snyder, M.A., & Fitchett, G. (in press). A meta-analytic approach to examine the relationship between religion/spirituality and mental health in cancer. Cancer.

Sherman, A.C., Merluzzi, T.V., Pustejovsky, J.E., Park, C.L., George, L., Fitchett, G., Jim, H.S.L., Munoz, A.R., Danhauer, S.C., Snyder, M.A., & Salsman, J.M. (in press). A meta-analytic review of religious or spiritual involvement and social health among cancer patients.  Cancer.

Jim, H.S.L., Pustejovsky J., Park, C.L., Danhauer S.C., Sherman, A.C., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T.V., Munoz, A.R., George, L., Snyder, M.A., & Salsman, J.M. (in press). Religion, spirituality, and physical health in cancer patients: A meta-analysis. Cancer.

Philip, E. J., Merluzzi, T. V., Zhang, Z., & Heitzmann, C. A. (2013). Depression and cancer survivorship: Importance of coping self-efficacy in post-treatment survivors.  Psycho-Oncology, 22, 987-994.                     

Merluzzi, T. V., Philip, E. J., Vachon, D. O., & Heitzmann, C. A. (2011). Assessment of self-efficacy for caregiving: The critical role of self-care in caregiver stress and burden. Palliative and Supportive Care, 9, 15-24.

Heitzmann, C. A., Merluzzi, T. V., Roscoe, J. A., Jean-Pierre, P., Kirsh, K. L., & Passik, S. D. (2011). Assessing self-efficacy for coping with cancer: Development and psychometric analysis of the brief version of the Cancer Behavior Inventory (CBI-B), Psycho-Oncology, 20, 302-312.