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Living with HIV: responses to a mantram intervention using the critical incident research method.

Kemppainen J, Bormann JE, Shively M, Kelly A, Becker S, Bone P, Belding W, Gifford AL. Living with HIV: responses to a mantram intervention using the critical incident research method. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 2012 Jan 1; 18(1):76-82.

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OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to identify and describe ways that a spiritually based intervention of silently repeating a mantram-sacred word or phrase-was used as a coping strategy for managing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. DESIGN: The design was a qualitative research method, the critical incident technique. SETTINGS/LOCATION: The study was conducted at an academically affiliated Veterans Affairs Hospital in southern California. SUBJECTS: The subjects were outpatient adults living with HIV (n = 32) who were receiving care through HIV clinics, community agencies, and HIV providers. INTERVENTIONS: Subjects who participated in the intervention arm of a randomized controlled trial that tested the efficacy of a 5-weekly group mantram intervention were interviewed 2 months postintervention. Follow-up telephone interviews were specifically aimed at identifying instances of mantram use, and also participant perceptions of intervention usefulness or nonusefulness. OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcome measures comprised categorization and comparison of the types and frequency of incidents reported, describing ways that the intervention was "helpful" or "not helpful" in managing stressors of HIV disease. RESULTS: Participants reported a total of 185 incidents. Analysis and classification of the incidents resulted in eight mutually exclusive categories, including Increasing calm and/or peace, Mastering the technique, Changing my viewpoint, Increasing personal awareness, Adjusting behaviors, Managing physical symptoms, Increasing spirituality, and Enhancing relationships. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows support for the benefits of the mantram intervention for adults with HIV. Additionally, the spiritually based mantram repetition intervention was found to be more helpful in providing a convenient, portable tool for managing a wide range of situations related to living with HIV disease.

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