Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jameson K. Hirsch

Committee Members

Andrea D. Clements, Jon R. Webb


Hope, optimism, and several markers of religiosity and spirituality were examined as potential moderators of the association between negative life events and depressive symptoms in a secondary data analysis of an ethnically diverse sample. Participants (267 female, 119 male) were college students enrolled at an urban Northeastern university. It was hypothesized that negative life events would be associated with increased depressive symptoms and that higher levels of hope, optimism, and religious and spiritual variables would attenuate this relationship. Ethnically-stratified moderation analyses were conducted to assess for differences in moderation between Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and Asians. Hypotheses were generally supported, with some ethnic variation in findings. Although hope and optimism predicted decreased depressive symptoms in Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, optimism was a significant moderator in Whites only. Measures of religiosity were significant moderators among Blacks as well as Whites. Clinical and research implications are explored based on the extant literature.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.