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Effects of qigong in patients with burnout: a randomized controlled trial
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, ISSN 1650-1977, Vol. 41, no 9, 761-767 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of Qigong in rehabilitation for patients with burnout. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized controlled trial. SUBJECTS: Eighty-two patients (68 women and 14 men, mean age 44.3 (standard deviation 9.1) years) diagnosed with burnout.

METHODS: Basic care was offered to both the intervention and the control group. Patients in the intervention group received basic care and, in addition, performed Qigong twice a week for 12 weeks. Psychological variables, health-related quality of life, perceived relaxation and physical measurements were assessed at baseline and after the intervention period.

RESULTS: No significant difference in treatment efficacy between the groups was found by either intention-to-treat or per-protocol analyses. Both groups improved significantly over time, with reduced levels of burnout, fatigue, anxiety and depression, and increased dynamic balance and physical capacity. CONCLUSION: In this study, a Qigong intervention twice a week for 12 weeks had no additional effect beyond basic care for patients with burnout.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 41, no 9, 761-767 p.
Keyword [en]
mind-body therapies; burnout; anxiety; depression; randomized controlled trial
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30750DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0417PubMedID: 19774311OAI: diva2:286500
Available from: 2010-01-14 Created: 2010-01-14 Last updated: 2015-01-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Rehabilitation for patients with burnout
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rehabilitation for patients with burnout
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Stress-related diseases and burnout have increased in Sweden during the last decades. In 2006, the most common diagnoses for new cases of sickness compensation were mental and behavioural disorders in both women and men. In spite of the large group of people seeking care for and on long-term sickness absence due to stress-related diseases and burnout, there is no agreement on which treatment they should be offered. The overall aim of this thesis was to describe patients on longterm sick leave because of burnout and to evaluate rehabilitation programs for this patient group.

Two patient samples were recruited from the Stress Clinic at the University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden: REST (Rehabilitation for stressrelated disease and burnout; n=136) and QIST (Qigong for stress-related disease and burnout; n=82). A general population sample was from the 2004 Northern Sweden MONICA survey (n=573). Patients in REST were randomised into a 1-year rehabilitation program to either program A (Cognitively-oriented Behavioural Rehabilitation (CBR) and Qigong), or to program B (Qigong alone). In Paper I, baseline data were compared with data from the MONICA sample. In paper II, programs A and B were compared regarding effects on psychological variables and sick leave rates, and in Paper III, 18 patients from program A and B were interviewed to explore subjective experiences of the rehabilitation programs. Patients in QIST were allocated to an intervention with Qigong twice a week for 12 weeks or a control group. Psychological and physical measurements were assessed in QIST.

Data were collected by questionnaires, physical measurements, the register on sick leave, and interviews.

Patients with burnout reported a more restricted social network and higher work demands than the general population. In relation to women from a general population, women with burnout more often worked “with people”, reported high job strain, a more sedentary work situation and less emotional support.

A per-protocol analysis showed no significant differences in treatment effect between program A and B in REST or between the intervention and control group in QIST. All groups improved significantly over time with reduced levels of burnout, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. In REST, lower scores on obsessive-compulsive symptoms, stress behaviour, and sick leave rates were found in both programs and in QIST both groups increased dynamic balance and physical capacity. In an intention-to-treat analysis, patients in program A in REST had significantly fewer obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and larger effect sizes in stress behaviour and obsessive-compulsive symptoms compared to patients in program B. Patients in both REST programs perceived that the 1-year rehabilitation program gave them specific tools to use in secondary prevention. They also emphasised that the good encounters, affirmation and group cohesiveness they perceived during the 8 rehabilitation was a necessary basis for initiation of a behavioural change leading to recovery.

In conclusion, compared to a general population, patients with burnout perceived more demands at work and less social support. Lack of emotional support seemed to be more associated with burnout among women. There were no differences in effect between CBR and Qigong compared to Qigong alone, or between a 12 week Qigong intervention compared to a control condition. Improvements were found in all groups in the rehabilitation programs. CBR combined with Qigong have some advantages compared to Qigong alone. An environment with good encounters and affirmation of the patients was experiences as important by the patients and group rehabilitation had advantages as recognition and support from the group. Early rehabilitation measures are important to prevent long-term sickness absence. In future rehabilitation programs it might be necessary to have a more individualized approach and choose treatments preferred by the patient.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Arkitektkopia, 2009. 70 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1237
burnout, social support, work demands, population surveillance, epidemiology, randomised controlled trials, cognitive therapy, sick leave, mind-body and relaxation techniques, anxiety, depression, grounded-theory analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18434 (URN)978-91-7264-711-4 (ISBN)
Yrkes- och miljömedicin, 901 87, Umeå
Public defence
2009-02-27, Sal B plan 9, Tandläkarhögskolan By 1D, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-02-11 Created: 2009-02-05 Last updated: 2012-01-27Bibliographically approved

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Stenlund, ThereseBirgander, Lisbeth SlungaLindahl, BerntAhlgren, ChristinaNilsson, Leif
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