I finished the final intervention session for the MBM Skills pilot project today. Now I will move on to “crunching the numbers.” Below is a brief overview of the pilot project.
Aim: To answer the questions of whether a Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) skills group facilitated face-to-face and online can improve measures of Quality of Life (QOL) in a population of cancer patients.
Value of Study: Technological advances have contributed to new venues for healthcare delivery. It is imperative that these new delivery methods, for individual and/or group psychological services are sufficiently tested and validated. Owen, Bantum, and Golant (2009) claim that there is very little knowledge about differences in communication styles between online and face-to-face groups, nor is there much knowledge on the overall efficacy of online group interventions.
Phenomenon Studied: Can MBM skills groups improve the quality of life of cancer patients? Is there a difference in outcome between a MBM skills group delivered face-to-face and a MBM skills group delivered online.
Reasons Leading to Proposing the Project: Despite encouraging research showing that psychosocial interventions have positive effects in the lives of cancer patients, more research is needed due to lack of use of technological advances such as use of video conferencing and relatively few existing studies on the effectiveness of MBM therapies in the oncological setting.
Hypothesis 1: There is no difference between baseline QOL measures and QOL measures at the end of face-to-face facilitated MBM skills groups (Operational null hypothesis).
Hypothesis 2: There is no difference between baseline QOL measures and QOL measures at the end of online facilitated MBM skills groups (Operational null hypothesis).
Hypothesis 3: Participation in either, online facilitated MBM skills groups or face-to-face facilitated MBM skills groups will improve QOL measures when compared to control group (Literary alternative).
Hypothesis 4: Patients in the control group (waitlisted control, care as usual group) will have no improvement on QOL measures (Operational Alternative).
Brief Description of the Research Design Study Type
Interventional Study Design: Supportive Care, Parallel Assignment, Open Label, Efficacy Study
Primary Outcome Measure: Change in Quality of Life as assessed by the World Health organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) Instrument
Secondary Outcome Measure: Change in distress, anxiety, depression and need for help as assessed by the Emotion Thermometers Tool© (ET5)
Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4
Data Collection, Analysis, and Reporting: Data was collected at baseline and at week 4. Data analysis will be performed using IBM® SPSS® Statistics Software Version 19. Significance threshold is set a p < .05. Pre- and post-skills training comparisons of WHOQOL-BREF and ET5 scores will be performed.
Anticipated Value to the Larger Community: According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) “…there is a need for reliable, objective, evidence-based information regarding the usefulness and safety—or lack thereof—of CAM” (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011, p.3). This study will add to general scientific knowledge of CAM.
Treatment Procedures: The mind-body skills group is a form of educational intervention, combining the learning of such mind-body skills as meditation, breath exercises, relaxation, and imagery, with a sharing of emotions and experiences in a small group (6-10 participants) setting. The mind-body skills group provides a setting for the development of increased self-awareness and self-discovery, along with the mastery of mind-body skills that are useful for personal health and wellness.
Risk-to-Benefit Ratio: Mind-Body interventions seem to carry with them relatively little risk when compared to the potential benefits. Thus the benefits of participation in this proposed research seem to outweigh the potential adverse events significantly.
The Bottom Line: As mentioned above, today was the last day for group intervention with final collection of data. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll crunch the numbers and write up a final report. I will announce the final outcomes of this pilot project right here on The Alternative Medicine Blog. I am also looking to have the data scrutinized via peer review by locating an appropriate scientific journal.
In the meantime, if you are a cancer patient, loved one/caretaker of a cancer patient or a health care professional wanting to participate in an Online MBM Skills group, please go to my cancer support group page or check out the entry titled “Dealing with Cancer is Crazy Enough; Attending a Support Group Shouldn’t Be!” right here on The Alternative Medicine Blog.
On the other hand, if you are a fellow researcher interested in investigating Mind-Body Medicine modalities in the oncological setting, please do not hesitate to contact me for possible research collaboration for existing projects or to develop, plan and implement future research projects.
National Institutes of Health (U.S.). Medical Arts and Photography Branch. (1994). Mind-body interactions and disease a symposium on the relationships between mental states, immune function, and health. Retrieved from Images from the History of Medicine (NLM) website at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/ihm/
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2011). NCCAM’s Third Strategic Plan: Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (No. Third Strategic Plan) (p. 62).
Owen, J. E., Bantum, E. O., & Golant, M. (2009). Benefits and challenges experienced by professional facilitators of online support groups for cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology, 18(2), 144–155. doi:10.1002/pon.1374
Writing an essay, paper, or report? Cite this story:
APA: W Absenger. (2012.06.25). Pilot Project: Quality of life outcomes following mind-body skills training for cancer patients facilitated either face-to-face or online ends today [Web log post]. Retrieved from The Alternative Medicine Blog at http://amacf.org/2012/06/pilot-project-quality-of-life-outcomes-following-mind-body-skills-training-for-cancer-patients-facil.html
MLA: Absenger, Werner. ” Pilot Project: Quality of Life Outcomes Following Mind-Body Skills Training for Cancer Patients Facilitated either Face-To-Face or Online Ends Today.” The Alternative Medicine Blog. The Alternative Medicine Blog. 25 June. 2012. Web. Insert your date of access here.