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.

What are you fighting for video on Prof. Merluzzi's research

Very Short Video Highlighting Prof. Merluzzi's work:

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) and the Korean version of  CBIV3.0 (Lee, Merluzzi, Choi, & Lee, 2021). Recent projects: NIH PROMIS measure of coping self-efficacy (Salsman, Schalet, Merluzzi, et al., 2019); meta-analysis of self-efficacy outcomes in RCT interventions for cancer patients (Merluzzi, Pustejovsky, et al., 2019) and a multivariate (canonical correlation) approach to analyzing components of interventions including coping efficacy (Merluzzi, Zhang, Philip, Lee, & Salamanca-Balen, N., 2022).

  • All versions of the CBI including Version 3.0 (Merluzzi et al., 2018) are available on the Measures page of this website

Cancer Behavior Inventory (V3.0)

Cancer Behavior Inventory (V2.0) 

Cancer Behavior Inventory (Brief Form)

For versions in languages other than English, please email me at The translated versions are not vetted by my lab, therefore, I cannot vouch for quality of the translated measures, except for the Italian version of the Brief 12-item CBI (CBI-B-I; Serpentini et al, 2019) and the Korean version of the 27-item CBI V3.0 (CBI3.0-K; Lee et al, 2021)

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 analyses of stages of survivorship (Misiti, Kosidowski, Prendergast, Merluzzi, 2019; Kosidowski, Lamoretti, Wright, Salamanca-Balen & Merluzzi, 2021; Merluzzi, Salamanca Balen, Kurapatti, Misiti, & Kosidowski, 2021); Assessment of coping models of cancer and cancer survivorship (Merluzzi, Chirico, et al., 2019) and; Development of a new perspective on social support, Social Relationship Coping Efficacy, that focus on optimizing the patient’s social network (Merluzzi, Serpentini, et al., 2019; Charos, Merluzzi et al., 2021; Serpentini et al., 2022). A recent study investigated the relative effects of tolerance of uncertainty in mediating the relationship between COVID-19-pandemic stress and quality of life outcomes for those with and without a diagnosis of cancer (Salamanca-Balen, Qiu, & Merluzzi, 2022). 

Social Relationship Coping Efficacy Scale: A measure of self-efficacy for maintaining and enhancing social relationships and social support for persons with cancer.

A copy of this scale and scoring procedures are contained on the Measures page of this website

“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). Our most recent project investigated the mechanisms involved in the relationship between "letting go" and quality of life outcomes (Merluzzi, Philip, Salamanca-Balen, & Salsman, 2023).


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). In an attempt to dig deeper into the threshold-restraint theory a new study investigated the response to perceived micro and macro-aggressions in African American and Caucasian cancer patients and the impact on quality of life (Merluzzi, in preparation).

Complete citations are listed in  “Recent Publications” 

All measures, including the Caregiver Inventory, are available on the Measures page of this website