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Feasibility and Effects of a Tai Chi Self-Help Education Program for Korean Gastric Cancer Survivors

Eun Ok Lee
Young Ran Chae
Rhayun Song
Aeyong Eom
Paul Lam
Margaret Heitkemper
ONF 2010, 37(1), E1-E6 DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.E1-E6

Purpose/Objectives: To determine the feasibility of conducting a study of a tai chi self-help education program in Korean adults with gastric cancer and to describe the effects of a six-month tai chi self-help education program on depression, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and immune markers.

Design: One-group, pre- and post-test design.

Setting: Outpatient clinics of two large hospitals in the Republic of Korea.

Sample: Convenience sample of 33 Korean adults with gastric cancer diagnoses after gastrectomy.

Methods: The Korean gastric cancer survivors participated in a 24-week tai chi self-help education program. The participants completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies—Depression (Korean version) and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—General (Korean version) for HRQOL and provided blood samples for immune markers. All measurements were conducted at baseline and at one week following the 24-week intervention.

Main Research Variables: Feasibility was determined as the percentage of participants completing the 24-week protocol. Preliminary data on depression, HRQOL, and immune markers were obtained.

Findings: The dropout rate was 36.4%; 21 of 33 survivors participated in the tai chi self-help education program for 24 weeks. No complications or injuries occurred to the participants during the program. No significant differences were noted in depression, HRQOL, and immune markers before and after the intervention.

Conclusions: Tai chi exercise, in combination with a self-help program, can be safe and feasible for Korean gastric cancer survivors. This feasibility study did not show that the tai chi self-help education program improves depression, HRQOL, and immune markers in Korean gastric cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing: Additional studies are needed to determine the long-term impact relative to usual care.

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