Spirituality, self-transcendence and depression in young adults with AIDS

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Doris Ugarriza - Committee Chair


The purpose of this research was to examine the relationships between spirituality, self-transcendence and depression in young adults with AIDS and to determine whether religion, ethnicity, gender and education had any relationship to and could be used as predictors of spirituality, self-transcendence or depression in this population. The sample consisted of 154 adults who lived in a large southeastern city of the United States. Respondents were between the ages of 20 and 45 years, had CD4 counts of <200 cells/mm3 and could read English. Each participant was administered a ten-question demographic questionnaire, Spiritual Perspective Scale, Self-Transcendence Scale and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Descriptive and inferential statistics with p < .05 were used for data analysis. Significant findings were (1) a positive relationship between spirituality and self-transcendence, (2) a negative relationship between spirituality and depression, (3) an inverse relationship between active religious participation and spirituality, (4) an inverse relationship between active religious participation and self-transcendence, and (5) an inverse relationship between education and depression. No collinearity was found between spirituality and self-transcendence. No differences in spirituality or self-transcendence existed between the non-depressed and depressed groups. Therefore, spirituality, self-transcendence, religion, ethnicity, gender or education could be used as predictors of depression based on the results of this study. However, spiritual needs assessment and facilitation of spirituality in AIDS clients are vital components of nursing care. Quality nursing care can facilitate patients to reach higher levels of maturity, recognize and build on their spirituality and self-transcendence.


Religion, General; Health Sciences, Nursing; Psychology, Clinical

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