Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Multi-site evaluation of a complementary, spiritually-based intervention for Veterans: The Mantram Repetition Program

BACKGROUND: Mental and physical symptoms affect Veterans’ quality of life. Despite available conventional treatments, an increasing number of Veterans are seeking complementary approaches to symptom management. Research on the Mantram Repetition Program (MRP), a spiritually-based intervention, has shown significant improvements in psychological distress and spiritual well-being in randomized trials. However, these findings have not been replicated in real-world settings. METHODS: In this naturalistic study, we analyzed outcomes from 273 Veterans who participated in MRP at six sites and explored outcomes based on facilitator training methods. Measures included satisfaction and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and somatization using the Brief Symptom Inventory-18; Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-being questionnaire; and the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale. RESULTS: There were significant improvements in all outcomes (p’s < .001) regardless of how facilitators were trained. Patient satisfaction was high. CONCLUSION: The MRP was disseminated successfully yielding improvements in psychological distress, spiritual well-being, and mindfulness.