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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2013, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (5): 295-304.doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013046

• Research Article •     Next Articles

Investigating short- and long-term transfer effects of a Taiji beginner course in participants’ daily life

Agnes Maria Schitter, Brigitte Ausfeld-Hafter, Marko Nedeljkovic()   

  1. University of Bern, Institute of Complementary Medicine KIKOM, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
  • Received:2013-05-14 Accepted:2013-07-22 Online:2013-09-10 Published:2013-09-15

Objective

In recent years research investigating various health benefits of Taiji practice has markedly increased. Despite this growing scientific interest, essential questions such as to what extent a Taiji course may exert noticeable effects in participants’ everyday life, what these effects are, and how and where potential transfer effects occur, have hardly been considered. The aim of our study was to explore transfer effects from a Taiji course into participants’ daily lives.


Methods

We conducted a longitudinal observational study in 45 healthy participants at the end of their three-month Taiji beginner course (tp1) and at two months (tp2) as well as one year after course completion (tp3). Participants were asked to report their Taiji practice behavior at all time points, as well as to rate and describe perceived transfer effects of Taiji course contents on their daily life at tp1 and tp3.


Results

Transfer effects were reported by 91.1% of all respondents after course completion (tp1) and persisted in 73.3% at the one-year follow-up assessment (tp3), counting “increase of self-efficacy”, “improvement of stress management”, and “increase of body awareness” as the most frequently mentioned effects. Transfer effects predominantly occurred in participants’ work and social environments, as well as during everyday activities in public areas. While self-reliant Taiji practice frequency significantly decreased from 82.2% at tp1 to 55.6% at tp3 (P < 0.001), the magnitude of self-reported transfer effects did not (P = 0.35). As explorative analyses revealed, regular Taiji course attendance was highly correlated with stronger transfer effects at tp1 (r = 0.51; P < 0.001) and tp3 (r = 0.35; P = 0.020). Participants reporting high self-reliant Taiji practice frequency at tp2 were likely to maintain a regular practice routine at tp3 (r = 0.42; P < 0.004), whereas self-reliant practice frequency and transfer effects at tp1 were positively correlated with self-reliant practice frequency at tp3 on a trend level (r < 0.27; P > 0.08).


Conclusion

Our data underline the importance of regular course participation for pronounced and long lasting transfer effects into participants’ everyday life. We discuss that several context and process-related aspects of a Taiji intervention are potentially relevant factors for enhancement of transfer effect.

Key words: Tai Ji, Daily life, Transfer effects, Self-efficacy, Longitudinal study, Healthy subjects

Figure 1

Flow diagram depicting the progress of participation tp: time point."

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