Merluzzi's research is in an area of health psychology referred to as psychooncology. Psychooncology is the scientific study of the interface of the medical and psychological aspects of cancer. Within psychooncology, he 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.
Current areas of research
Assessment of Self-efficacy for Coping with Cancer
Development and refinement of the Cancer Behavior Inventory (CBI; Merluzzi & Martinez Sanchez, 1997; Merluzzi et al., 2001; Heitzmann, Merluzzi et al., 2011; Merluzzi et al., 2018), a widely-used measure of self-efficacy for coping with cancer. The CBI has been translated into many languages including the recently published Italian version of the Brief CBI (Serpentini, Del Bianco, Chirico, Merluzzi, et al., 2019). Recent projects: NIH PROMIS measure of coping self-efficacy (Salsman, Schalet, Merluzzi, et al., 2019) and meta-analysis of self-efficacy outcomes in RCT interventions for cancer patients (Merluzzi, Pustejovsky, et al., 2019).
- All versions of the CBI including Version 3.0 (Merluzzi et al., 2018) are available on the Lab for Psychooncology Research website.
For versions in languages other than English, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The translated versions are not vetted by my lab, therefore, I cannot vouch for quality of the translated measure, except for the Italian version of the Brief CBI.
Survivorship, Coping and Social Support
Development of a stage-based model of the transition from cancer treatment to cancer survivorship (Philip, Merluzzi, Zhang et al., 2013; Merluzzi et al, 2016; Philip & Merluzzi, 2016). Recent projects: Natural language analysis of stages of survivorship (Misiti, Kosidowski, Prendergast, Merluzzi, 2019; Kosidowski, Lamoretti, Wright, Salamanca-Balen & Merluzzi, 2021); Assessment of coping models of cancer and cancer survivorship (Merluzzi, Chirico, et al., 2019) and; Development of new perspectives on social support, Social Relationship Coping Efficacy, that optimize the patient’s social network (Merluzzi, Serpentini, et al., 2019).
“Letting Go” – Religious/Spiritual Perspectives on Relinquishing Control and Religious Coping
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, 2017; Serpentini, Capovilla, & Merluzzi, 2016) and a theory of hope that integrates uncertainty and control and contextualizes primary and secondary control (e.g., 'letting go") (Salamanca Balen & Merluzzi, 2021)
Essay on spiritual coping – “Dad and Jimmy” by Tom Merluzzi
Psychosocial Issues in Racial Health Disparities
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 (Merluzzi, Philip, Zhang, & Sullivan, 2015).
Complete citations are listed in “Recent Publications”