Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Derek R. Hopko

Committee Members

Todd M. Moore, Michael R. Nash, Barbara A. Murphy



Although spiritual or religious behaviors are sometimes targeted within behavioral activation protocols (Hopko & Lejuez, 2007; Hopko, Lejuez, Ruggiero, & Eifert, 2003), the efficacy of a protocol that exclusively develops a religiously-based behavioral repertoire has not been investigated. This randomized controlled study investigated the efficacy of a brief protocol for religious action in behavioral activation (PRA-BA) relative to a no-treatment “support” condition among mild to moderately depressed undergraduate students (n = 50). PRA-BA consisted of an individualized one-session intervention and 2-week activation interval. Clinical outcomes assessed depression, environmental reward, anxiety, and quality of life. Repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that the PRA-BA group had significantly greater decreases in depression and anxiety and increases in environmental reward at post-treatment. There was also a statistical trend indicating that PRA-BA may improve quality of life. At one-month follow-up, treatment gains were maintained for the PRA-BA participants. This study provides encouraging support for the efficacy of a strictly religiously-based behavioral intervention toward attenuating symptoms of depression in college students.

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