Cancer Institute

  • Stefan E. Schulenberg

    Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Mississippi
    Director, University of Mississippi Clinical-Disaster Research Center
    Cancer Epidemiology Program
    PhD, Clinical Psychology-Clinical/Disaster Specialty Track, University of South Dakota, 2001

    Contact information 
    University of Mississippi
    University, Mississippi 38677
    Phone: (662) 915-3518
    Fax: (662) 915-5398


    Research interests

    • Positive psychology: meaning/life purpose, life satisfaction/quality of life, relationship to physical health problems and health-promoting behaviors
    • Clinical/disaster psychology: disaster response training and effectiveness, PTSD
    • Psychological assessment

    Research synopsis

    There is an empirical relationship between perceived life meaning and well-being (e.g., mental health, physical health). With regard to physical well-being specifically, perceived life meaning may be of special importance in prognoses with illnesses such as cancer. Perceived meaning in life is related to many positive psychological constructs central to the human condition, including faith, hope, love, life satisfaction/quality of life, resilience, and empowerment. The broad goal of our research is to understand perceived life meaning's (and other positive psychology variables) relationship to cancer, and how interventions designed to enhance perceived life meaning aid those with cancer in terms of treatment responsiveness, adherence, and outcome. Focus is also placed on the quality of life of individuals diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones.

    Recent accomplishments and honors

    • Outstanding Early Career Psychologist Award (September 2007)
      Awarded by the Mississippi Psychological Association in recognition of outstanding dedication and notable contributions in the areas of science, teaching, association activities, and practice.
    • The Willis and Margaret Davis-Finck Legacy in Logotherapy Award (June 2007)
      Awarded by the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy (United States) in recognition of outstanding contributions in research and application of Viktor Frankl's theory of Logotherapy (a therapeutic approach and a personality theory that focuses on perceived meaning in life/life purpose).
    • Promotional Award (Viktor Frankl Fonds-Foerderungspreis, December 2006)
      International award bestowed by the Viktor Frankl Foundation of the City of Vienna, Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy, for distinguished work in relation to Meaning-Oriented Humanistic Psychotherapy.

    Selected publications

    •  Schulenberg, S. E., Drescher, C. F., & Baczwaski, B. J. (in press). Perceived meaning and disaster mental health: A role for logotherapy in clinical-disaster psychology. In A. Batthyany and P. Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Meaning in positive and existential psychology. Springer.
    • Schulenberg, S. E., Baczwaski, B. J., & Buchanan, E. M. (in press). Measuring search for meaning: A factor-analytic evaluation of the Seeking of Noetic Goals test (SONG). Journal of Happiness Studies. 
    • Schnetzer, L. W., Schulenberg, S. E., & Buchanan, E. M. (in press). Differential associations among alcohol use, depression and perceived life meaning in male and female college students. Journal of Substance Use.
    • Riordan, P., Lombardo, T., & Schulenberg, S. E. (in press). Evaluation of a computer-based administration of the Rey Complex Figure Test. Applied Neuropsychology.
    • Drescher, C. F., Baczwaski, B. J., Walters, A. B., Aiena, B. J., Schulenberg, S. E., & Johnson, L. R. (2012). Coping with an ecological disaster: The role of perceived meaning in life and self-efficacy following the Gulf Oil Spill. Ecopsychology, 4, 56-63.
    •  Schulenberg, S. E., Strack, K. M., & Buchanan, E. M. (2011). The Meaning in Life Questionnaire: Psychometric properties with individuals with serious mental illness in an inpatient setting. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 1210-1219.
    •  Schulenberg, S. E., Schnetzer, L. W., & Buchanan, E. M. (2011). The Purpose in Life test-Short Form: Development and psychometric support. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 861-876
    • Hirschel, M. J., & Schulenberg, S. E. (2010). PTSD Checklist (PCL) short form use: Analyses from Mississippi Gulf Coast Hurricane Katrina survivors. Psychological Assessment, 22, 460-464.
    •  Schulenberg, S. E., & Melton, A. M. A. (2010). A confirmatory factor-analytic evaluation of the Purpose in Life test: Preliminary psychometric support for a replicable two-factor model. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 95-111.
    • Hirschel, M. J., & Schulenberg, S. E. (2009). Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: General self-efficacy’s relationship to PTSD prevalence and severity. Psychological Services, 6, 293-303.