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Bormann JE, Liu L, Thorp SR, Lang AJ. Spiritual wellbeing mediates PTSD change in veterans with military-related PTSD. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2012 Dec 1; 19(4):496-502.
BACKGROUND: A portable practice of repeating a mantram-a sacred word or phrase-has been shown to reduce the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in veterans with military trauma. It is thought that the intervention re-directs attention and initiates relaxation to decrease symptom severity, but there may be other mechanisms that may contribute to this improvement. PURPOSE: We tested the hypothesis that increases in existential spiritual wellbeing (ESWB) would mediate reductions in self-reported PTSD symptoms following a group mantram intervention. METHOD: Veterans diagnosed with PTSD from war-related trauma completed 6 weeks of case management plus a group mantram intervention (n? = 66) as part of a randomized trial. Measures included PTSD Checklist (PCL) and Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Wellbeing. Path analysis was conducted on those who completed treatment to assess ESWB as a possible mediator of change in PCL from baseline to post-treatment. RESULTS: A significant indirect effect, -2.24, 95% CI (-4.17, -1.05) of the mantram intervention on PCL change was found. The path from the mantram intervention to ESWB change was significant and positive (B? = 4.89, p? < 0.0001), and the path from ESWB change to PCL change was significant and negative (B? = -0.46, p? = 0.001), thus supporting the hypothesis. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that one contributing mechanism that partially explains how the mantram intervention reduces PTSD symptom severity in veterans may be by increasing levels of ESWB.