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2008 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

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National Meeting 2008

3066 — Mantram Repetition Practice to Manage PTSD in Veterans: A Preliminary Qualitative Analysis

Bormann JE (VA San Diego Healthcare System), Hurst S (University of California San Diego), Thorp S (VA San Diego Healthcare System & University of California San Diego), Wetherell JL (VA San Diego Healthcare System & University of California San Diego), Golshan S (University of California San Diego)

Objectives:
Despite evidence that complementary mind-body therapies enhance quality of life in patients with chronic illness, cancer, and HIV/AIDS, little attention has been given to these approaches for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study investigated the application of an innovative, complementary, non-pharmacological program of mantram repetition. It is the self-care practice of silently repeating a traditional, spiritually-based word or phrase intermittently throughout the day to manage unwanted thoughts or feelings. Unlike other meditative practices that require a quiet environment, particular posture, or eyes closed, mantram repetition can be conveniently practiced at any time or place.

Methods:
The data used in this analysis comes from the first 18 participants who completed a larger randomized trial on mantram repetition. Qualitative responses were extracted from semi-structured telephone interviews conducted at 3-months following the intervention. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, and coded to examine the number of incidents reported and how participants responded to those incidents.

Results:
Participants included 18 outpatient male veterans with PTSD (67% Caucasian, 17% Pacific Islander, 11% African American and 5%) ranging in age from 39 to 75 (M=56+ 6.5) with an average of 11+ 7.5 months of combat. They reported a total of 100 incidents. Of these, the highest number was categorized as hyper-arousal (n=68). The most frequently reported examples of hyper-arousal included irritable/angry outbursts (n=34), hyper-vigilance (n=15) and sleep disturbances (n=10). All participants reported using mantram repetition effectively. It was most effective for relaxing/calming down (n=40), diverting attention away from the triggering incident (n=14), and thinking clearly and rationally (n=12).

Implications:
Preliminary evidence suggests that the practice of mantram repetition is of value for managing a wide range of situations in a small sample of veterans with PTSD. Additional analyses are ongoing.

Impacts:
Evidenced-based complementary and spiritually-based practices may provide beneficial and therapeutic options for managing PTSD in veterans. Funded by HSR&D Nursing Research Initiative grant (04-041-1) and supported by VA San Diego Office of Nursing Service.


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