Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 321–329 | Cite as

The impact of a mind–body program on multiple dimensions of resiliency among geographically diverse patients with neurofibromatosis

  • Emily L. Zale
  • Catherine Pierre-Louis
  • Eric A. Macklin
  • Eric Riklin
  • Ana-Maria VranceanuEmail author
Clinical Study


The neurofibromatoses (NF) are incurable genetic disorders that can cause nerve sheath tumors, chronic pain, and disfiguration. Patients with NF report lower quality of life and greater distress, and may benefit from programs that promote resiliency. To test effects of an 8-week mind–body program (Relaxation Response Resiliency Program for NF [3RP-NF]) on resiliency, using data derived from a larger randomized controlled trial of the 3RP-NF versus attention placebo control (Vranceanu et al. in Neurology 87:806–814, 2016). Participants (N = 63; 46 female; 52 White) were randomized to 3RP-NF (n = 32, M age = 42.86) or control (n = 31, M age = 39.90), completed intervention sessions via group videoconferencing, and provided self-report measures of resiliency (i.e., perceived coping abilities, perceived social support, gratitude, optimism, spiritual well-being, mindfulness) at baseline, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up. All participants attended at least 6/8 sessions and 83% (N = 52) provided 6-month follow-up data. The 3RP-NF (vs. control) produced greater improvements from pre- to post-intervention in perceived coping abilities (M difference = 6.68; p = .008), perceived social support (M difference = 9.16; p = .032), and mindfulness (M difference = 2.23; p = .035), which were maintained at 6-month follow up. We did not observe group differences in spiritual well-being, optimism, or gratitude. The 3RP-NF produced sustained increases in multiple dimensions of resiliency (perceived coping abilities, perceived social support, and mindfulness). Promoting resiliency may be particularly important for a population that is underserved and living with a chronic, incurable illness.


Resiliency Neurofibromatosis Mindfulness Intervention Coping 



This study was fully funded by the Children’s Tumor Foundation through a clinical research grant awarded to Ana-Maria Vranceanu.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Emily L. Zale declares that she has no conflict of interest. Catherine Pierre-Louis declares that she has no conflict of interest. Eric A. Macklin declares that he has no conflict of interest. Eric Riklin declares that he has no conflict of interest. Ana-Maria Vranceanu declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program, Psychiatry DepartmentMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Biostatistics CenterMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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