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2006 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

1016 — Efficacy of Mantram Repetition on Spirituality in HIV-Infected Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author List:
Bormann JE (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Gifford AL (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Shively M (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Smith TL (University of California San Diego)
Redwine L (University of California San Diego)
Kelly A (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Becker S (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Gershwin M (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Bone P (VA San Diego Healthcare System)
Belding W (VA San Diego Healthcare System)

Veterans with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS have shown interest in complementary and alternative therapies, but few of these modalities are available within the VA. Research evidence on the efficacy of these interventions is needed. We tested the efficacy of an intervention of frequent mantram repetition--a word or phrase with spiritual meaning chosen by the participant—on intrusive thoughts, perceived stress, anxiety, anger, coping, spiritual well-being, and quality of life in a randomized controlled trial of HIV-infected adults.

A sample of 93 HIV-infected adults (veterans and non-veterans) were recruited and individually randomized to either the mantram group (n = 46) or attention control (n= 47) providing 5 weekly (90-minutes/week) sessions followed by 4 weeks of automated phone calls and one final session. Participants completed Impact of Events Intrusive Subscale, Perceived Stress Scale, Spielberger’s Trait-Anxiety and Trait-Anger Inventories, Ways of Coping Scale, and Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Activity subscale. Data were collected at baseline, mid-intervention, post-intervention, and 3 months follow-up. Mantram repetition was measured using wrist-worn counters and self-report. Repeated measures ANOVAs were performed on all outcome variables.

Analyses revealed significant group by time interactions indicating the mantram group improved significantly more than the control group for reducing trait-anger, increasing active coping on scales of positive appraisal, problem solving, seeking social support, and increasing spiritual faith. Using partial correlations to control for baseline measures, there were significant positive correlations at post-intervention between mantram repetition and spiritual well-being (r =.43, p< .01), spiritual faith (r = .52, p< .001), meaning/peace (r =.42, p< .01), quality of life (r = .31, p< .05), and inverse associations with intrusive thoughts (r = -.32, p<.05) and depression (r = -.47, p< .001) in the mantram group.

Findings provide evidence that mantram repetition is a feasible, acceptable, and beneficial intervention for managing anger and improving spiritual well-being, both of which are associated with higher quality of life in HIV-infected adults.

This study demonstrates the importance of complementary, spiritual therapies for managing chronic illness and improving quality of life. Additional studies on mantram repetition are being conducted to assess its efficacy for managing PTSD symptoms in veterans (NRI-04-041) and for family caregiver stress.

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