Thomas Merluzzi

Thomas Merluzzi

Professor and Director of The Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame

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.

Learn more about Dr. Merluzzi's work by viewing the Laboratory for Psycho-Oncology Research Website


Recent Publications:

Merluzzi, T.V., Philip, E.J., Yang, M., & Heitzmann, C.A. (2016). Matching of received social support with need for support in adjusting to cancer and cancer survivorship. Psycho-Oncology, 25, 684-690.   [PMID: 26126444]

Serpentini, S., Capovilla, E., & Merluzzi, T.V. (2016). Lasciare andare: Potenzialita di applicazione in psiconcologia e nelle cure palliative.  (“Letting go”: Potential application in psycho-oncology and palliative care). Mosciano, S.A., Italy: Artemia Edizioni.

Philip, E.J. & Merluzzi, T.V. (2016). Symptom burden and psychosocial stressors in post-treatment cancer survivors: Desire for support and challenges in identifying individuals in need. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 34, 223-239.


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