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Assessing the effect of a mind-body exercise, qigong Baduanjin, on sleep disturbance among women experiencing intimate partner violence and possible mediating factors: a randomized-controlled trial

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 17(5):993-1003. 2021
Cheung D.S.T., Chau P.H., Yeung W.F., Deng W., Hong A.W.L., Tiwari A.F.Y.


Study objective
To evaluate the effects of a mind-body exercise, qigong Baduanjin, on sleep disturbances in women experiencing intimate partner violence and explore the mediating role of depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and inflammation in producing the effects.

A subgroup of a parent randomized controlled trial was randomized for a 22-week Baduanjin intervention (n = 94) or wait-list control (n = 92). Questionnaires, including the General Sleep Disturbance Scale, Perceived Stress Scale, and Beck Depression Inventory version II, were administered at baseline, posttraining (6 weeks), and postintervention (22 weeks), and blood samples were collected to assess tumor necrosis factor and interleukin 6 levels at baseline and postintervention only.

Of the 186 participants, 170 completed the study. Results indicate that the total sleep disturbance scores for the intervention group were significantly lower than those for the wait-list control group at week 6 (difference = -7.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], -13.63 to -2.30; P = .006) and week 22 (difference = -7.17; 95% CI, -12.58 to -1.76; P = .01). Mediation analysis showed a statistically significant indirect effect of the intervention on sleep improvement through reducing depressive symptoms (β = 2.58, 95% CI, 0.69 to 5.09), while the mediating effects of perceived stress and inflammation were not significant.

Qigong Baduanjin can be recommended for women who experience intimate partner violence and report sleep disturbances. More research is needed to understand the clinical significance of the observed sleep improvements.

Key Words: Baduanjin; complementary and alternative medicine; intimate partner violence; mind-body; non-pharmacological intervention; qigong; randomized control trial; sleep

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