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In-person vs. eHealth Mindfulness-based Intervention for Adolescents with Chronic Illnesses: A Pilot Randomized Trial

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 1 ]

Author(s):

Nicholas Chadi*, Elli Weisbaum, Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, Sara Ahola Kohut, Christine Viner, Nades Palaniyar, Miriam Kaufman, Jake Locke and Dzung X. Vo   Pages 11 - 23 ( 13 )

Abstract:


Background: Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) can improve mental health and well-being in adolescents with chronic illnesses. However, there are many barriers such as reduced mobility and distance which compromise accessibility to MBIs.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents (MARS-A) program in youth with chronic illnesses delivered in person or via eHealth.

Methods: In this mixed method randomized controlled trial, participants received weekly 90- minute long MARS-A sessions for 8 weeks, either in person or via a secure eHealth audiovisual platform allowing group interactions in real time. Data was collected at baseline, immediately after and two months post-MBI through saliva analyses, electronic participant logs and validated questionnaires assessing mindfulness skills and mental health outcomes.

Results: Seven participants per group completed the intervention (total n=14, completion rate 77.8%). Paired t-test analyses revealed a significant reduction in depression/anxiety scores immediately post-intervention (p=0.048, Cohen’s d=0.934) and a significant reduction in pre-post mindfulness cortisol levels at week 8 (p=0.022, Cohen’s d=0.534) in the eHealth group. Frequency and duration of weekly individual home practice (eHealth: 6.5 times; 28.8 minutes; in-person: 6.0 times; 30.6 minutes) were similar in both groups and maintained at follow-up.

Conclusion: This is the first study comparing in-person and eHealth delivery of an 8-week MBI for adolescents with chronic illnesses. Although the study was limited by the small size of the sample, our results suggest that eHealth delivery of MBIs may represent a promising avenue for increasing availability in this population.

Keywords:

Adolescent, mindfulness, eHealth, chronic illness, randomized controlled trial, MARS-A.

Affiliation:

Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Institute of Medical Sciences and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Bishop's University and Research Group on Mindfulness, Toronto, ON, Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Downstate Medical Center and State University of New York, New York, NY, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, British Columbia Children's Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, British Columbia Children's Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC



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