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
1MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program, One Bowdoin Sq, 6/F, Boston, MA 02114. ayeung@mgh.harvard.edu.
2Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
3Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
4Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
5School 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