Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 359–376 | Cite as

Effects of Spiritual Mantram Repetition on HIV Outcomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Jill E. Bormann
  • Allen L. Gifford
  • Martha Shively
  • Tom L. Smith
  • Laura Redwine
  • Ann Kelly
  • Sheryl Becker
  • Madeline Gershwin
  • Patricia Bone
  • Wendy Belding

We examined the efficacy of a psycho-spiritual intervention of mantram repetition—a word or phrase with spiritual associations repeated silently throughout the day–on psychological distress (intrusive thoughts, stress, anxiety, anger, depression), quality of life enjoyment and satisfaction, and existential spiritual well-being in HIV-infected adults. Using a 2-group by 4-time repeated measures design, 93 participants were randomly assigned to mantram (n = 46) or attention control group (n = 47). Over time, the mantram group improved significantly more than the control group in reducing trait-anger and increasing spiritual faith and spiritual connectedness. Actual mantram practice measured by wrist counters was inversely associated with non-HIV related intrusive thoughts and positively associated with quality of life, total existential spiritual well-being, meaning/peace, and spiritual faith. Intent-to-treat findings suggest that a mantram group intervention and actual mantram practice each make unique contributions for managing psychological distress and enhancing existential spiritual well-being in adults living with HIV/AIDS.


HIV/AIDS randomized controlled trial spirituality spiritual therapy meditation mind-body and relaxation techniques intervention study 



This study was conducted with core support from the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NCCAM/NIH) grant # R21AT01159-01A1 and with indirect support from the Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Health Services Research Unit of the VA San Diego Healthcare System; San Diego Veterans Medical Research Foundation; University of California San Diego (UCSD) General Clinical Research Center (#1637), National Institutes of Health/National Center for Research Resources (M01RR008); UCSD Center for AIDS Research (CFAR 5P30 AI 36214) and the UCSD Antiretroviral Research Center (AVRC); San Diego State University School of Nursing's Institute of Nursing Research (#900521); and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society-Gamma Gamma Chapter. Portions of this study were presented at the 17th Annual Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Conference, New Orleans, LA, November 15-18, 2004; the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meetings in Boston, MA, April 13-15, 2005 and in San Francisco, CA, March 22-25, 2006; and the Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Annual Meeting in Arlington, VA, February 17, 2006.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill E. Bormann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Allen L. Gifford
    • 3
  • Martha Shively
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tom L. Smith
    • 1
    • 4
  • Laura Redwine
    • 4
  • Ann Kelly
    • 1
  • Sheryl Becker
    • 1
  • Madeline Gershwin
    • 1
  • Patricia Bone
    • 5
  • Wendy Belding
    • 5
  1. 1.VA San Diego Healthcare SystemSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.School of Nursing, San Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Bedford VA Medical CenterBedfordUSA
  4. 4.University of California San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  5. 5.Veterans Medical Research FoundationSan DiegoUSA

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