Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Sandra Gramling


The field of bereavement research is currently lacking empirical studies examining grief in adolescent and young adult populations. Furthermore, the roles of religion (Hays, & Hendrix, 2008), meaning-making (Park, 2005) and post-bereavement personal growth (Davis, 2008), all of which are critical to understanding the loss experiences of people in these age groups (Balk, & Corr, 1996), have yet to be enumerated in a reliable way in the literature. Stroebe (2004) has emphasized the need to improve methods and measurement tools by including more thorough measures of religious coping and bereavement experience. The current study aimed to clarify the process of meaning-making following the loss of a loved one by testing a mediational model in which the use of positive religious coping methods influence the maintenance or development of adaptive core beliefs, which in turn produce favorable outcomes. Data were collected in a survey format from 222 college students, and analyzed using structural equation modeling to test the data against Baron and Kenny’s (1986) criteria for mediation. The data do not support a mediational model of meaning-making for the current sample, but an acceptable model of the effects of world assumptions on outcome variables was developed. The data suggest that while all core beliefs are important to the process of personal growth following a loss, beliefs regarding self-worth are the strongest predictors of positive outcomes and stronger beliefs in the randomness of events are problematic.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons