Objective: To determine the effects of T'ai Chi training on arthritis self-efficacy, quality of life indicators, and lower extremity functional mobility in older adults with osteoarthritis.
Design: A prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Intervention length was 12 weeks, with outcomes measured before and after intervention using blinded testers. Group (T'ai Chi vs Control) x time (2 x 2) mixed factorial ANOVA.
Setting: Allied Health Sciences Center at Springfield College, Springfield, MA PARTICIPANTS: A total of 33 community-dwelling participants (mean age 68) diagnosed with lower extremity osteoarthritis and having no prior T'ai Chi training longer than 2 weeks.
Intervention: T'ai Chi training included two 1-hour T'ai Chi classes per week for 12 weeks.
Measurements: Arthritis self-efficacy (Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale), quality of life indicators (Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale), functional outcomes (one-leg standing balance, 50-foot walking speed, time to rise from a chair).
Results: T'ai Chi participants experienced significant (P < .05) improvements in self-efficacy for arthritis symptoms, total arthritis self-efficacy, level of tension, and satisfaction with general health status.
Conclusions: A moderate T'ai Chi intervention can enhance arthritis self-efficacy, quality of life, and functional mobility among older adults with osteoarthritis. T'ai Chi training is a safe and effective complementary therapy in the medical management of lower extremity osteoarthritis.