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J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016 Oct;21(4):NP103-9. doi: 10.1177/2156587216652572. Epub 2016 Jun 5.

Expectancy Effect in Three Mind-Body Clinical Trials.

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National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR, USA
National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR, USA.
National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR, USA Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.


Expectancy, arguably the prime component of the placebo effect, has been shown to significantly modify the effects of many treatments. Furthermore, various forms of mind-body interventions have demonstrated effective improvements in outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between pretreatment expectations and symptom reduction in a secondary analysis of 3 mind-body intervention programs. An adjusted correlation and regression analysis compared data from a 6-question expectancy questionnaire to a self-reported clinical impression of change score. Only 1 of the 6 expectancy questions in 1 of the 3 studies reached significance (B = 0.087; P = .025). The combined data from all 3 studies did not reveal significant expectancy effects. The positive effects of mindfulness meditation appear to be independent of an expectancy effect.


expectancy; meditation; mind-body; mindfulness-based stress reduction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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