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

Author: Denise Shuk Ting Cheung1, Pui Hing Chau1, Wing-Fai Yeung2, Wen Deng1, Athena Wai Lin Hong3, Agnes F Y Tiwari4
1 School of Nursing, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
2 School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.
3 School of Health Sciences, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong, China.
4 School of Nursing, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Hong Kong, China.
Conference/Journal: J Clin Sleep Med
Date published: 2021 Feb 8
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.5664/jcsm.9102. , Word Count: 254

Study objectives:
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, were 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, post-training (6 weeks), and post-intervention (22 weeks), and blood samples were collected to assess tumor necrosis factor and interleukin 6 levels at baseline and post-intervention 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% CI, -13.63 to -2.30; P = 0.006) and Week 22 (difference = -7.17; 95% CI, -12.58 to -1.76; P = 0.01). 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.

Clinical trial registration:
Registry:, Title: Qigong Intervention Program for Abused Chinese Women, Identifier: NCT02060123, URL:

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

PMID: 33551021 DOI: 10.5664/jcsm.9102