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Leigh F. Callahan, Rebecca J. Cleveland, Mary Altpeter and Betsy Hackney

Objective:

Evaluate effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program for community participants with arthritis.

Methods:

343 individuals were randomized to either the intervention or wait-list control group. Performance and self-reported outcome (SRO) measures were assessed at baseline and eight weeks. At one year, SROs only were assessed. Adjusted means were determined using regression models adjusting for covariates, and effect sizes (ES) were calculated.

Results:

Average participant age was 66 years, 87% were female, and 87% were Caucasian. Among 284 (83%) participants who returned at eight weeks, balance by reach (ES = 0.30) and helplessness, sleep, and role participation satisfaction (ES = 0.24–0.54) improved significantly; pain, fatigue, and stiffness improvement (ES = 0.15–0.23) approached significance. No change was noted in mobility, lower extremity strength, or single-leg stance balance. At one year, improvements in pain, fatigue, stiffness, helplessness, and role participation satisfaction at eight weeks were maintained; 30% continued tai chi practice.

Conclusion:

Moderate effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program was confirmed.

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Leigh F. Callahan, Rebecca J. Cleveland, Jack Shreffler, Jennifer M. Hootman, Thelma J. Mielenz, Britta Schoster, Teresa Brady and Todd Schwartz

Background:

Adults with arthritis can benefit from participation in physical activity and may be assisted by organized programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 20-week behavioral lifestyle intervention, Active Living Every Day (ALED), for improvements in primary outcomes (physical activity levels, aerobic endurance, function, symptoms).

Methods:

A 20-week randomized controlled community trial was conducted in 354 adults. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and 20 weeks in the intervention and wait-list control groups. The intervention group was also assessed at 6 and 12 months. Mean outcomes were determined by multilevel regression models in the intervention and control groups at follow-up points.

Results:

At 20 weeks, the intervention group significantly increased participation in physical activity, and improved aerobic endurance, and select measures of function while pain, fatigue and stiffness remained status quo. In the intervention group, significant improvements in physical activity at 20 weeks were maintained at 6 and 12 months, and stiffness decreased.

Conclusions:

ALED appears to improve participation in physical activity, aerobic endurance, and function without exacerbating disease symptoms in adults with arthritis.