A Pilot, Randomized Controlled Study of Tai Chi With Passive and Active Controls in the Treatment of Depressed Chinese Americans.

Author: Yeung AS1,2,3, Feng R2,4, Kim DJH2, Wayne PM4, Yeh GY4, Baer L2, Lee OE5, Denninger JW3, Benson H3, Fricchione GL3, Alpert J2, Fava M2
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup>MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program, One Bowdoin Sq, 6/F, Boston, MA 02114. ayeung@mgh.harvard.edu. <sup>2</sup>Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. <sup>3</sup>Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. <sup>4</sup>Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. <sup>5</sup>School of Social Work, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
Conference/Journal: J Clin Psychiatry.
Date published: 2017 May
Other: Volume ID: 78 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: e522-e528 , Special Notes: doi: 10.4088/JCP.16m10772. , Word Count: 223

OBJECTIVE: This pilot, randomized clinical trial investigates the effectiveness of tai chi as the primary treatment for Chinese Americans with major depressive disorder (MDD).

METHODS: 67 Chinese Americans with DSM-IV MDD and no treatment for depression were recruited between March 2012 and April 2013 and randomized (1:1:1) into a tai chi intervention, an education program, or a waitlisted group for 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure was the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS₁₇); positive response for this outcome was defined as a decrease in total score of 50% or more, and remission was defined as HDRS₁₇ ≤ 7.

RESULTS: Participants (N = 67) were 72% female with a mean age of 54 ± 13 years. No serious adverse events were reported. After the end of the 12-week intervention, response rates were 25%, 21%, and 56%, and remission rates were 10%, 21%, and 50% for the waitlisted, education, and tai chi intervention groups, respectively. The tai chi group showed improved treatment response when compared to both the waitlisted group (odds ratio [OR] = 2.11; 95% CI, 1.01-4.46) and to the education group (OR = 8.90; 95% CI, 1.17-67.70). Tai chi intervention showed significantly improved remission rate over the waitlisted group (OR = 3.01; 95% CI, 1.25-7.10), and a trend of improved remission compared to the education group (OR = 4.40; 95% CI, 0.78-24.17).

CONCLUSIONS: As the primary treatment, tai chi improved treatment outcomes for Chinese Americans with MDD over both passive and active control groups.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01619631.

PMID: 28570792 DOI: 10.4088/JCP.16m10772