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Nat Sci Sleep. 2016 Nov 14;8:305-314. eCollection 2016.

Effects of tai chi chuan on anxiety and sleep quality in young adults: lessons from a randomized controlled feasibility study.

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Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling.
Department of Psychology.
Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Department of Theatre and Dance.
Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone.
Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.



To determine feasibility and estimate the effect of a 10-week tai chi chuan (TCC) intervention on anxiety and sleep quality in young adults.


Seventy-five adults (18-40 years) from a predominately undergraduate midsized university.


This was an assessor blinded, randomized feasibility trial, and participants were randomized into one of three groups: 10 weeks of TCC meeting 2 times per week, 10 weeks of TCC with a DVD of the curriculum, and control group receiving a handout on anxiety management. Anxiety and sleep quality were assessed 4 times: baseline, 4 weeks, 10 weeks (immediate post-intervention), and 2 months post-intervention. Retention was defined as a participant attending the baseline assessment and at least one other assessment. Adherence to the intervention was set a priori as attendance at 80% of the TCC classes.


Eighty-five percent of participants were retained during the intervention and 70% completed the 2 month follow-up assessments. To increase statistical power, the two TCC groups were combined in the analyses of anxiety and sleep quality measures. No significant changes in anxiety were found in the control group, while levels of anxiety decreased significantly over time in the two TCC groups. Sleep quality scores improved across time for all three groups, but adherent TCC participants reported greater improvement than control participants.


TCC may be an effective nonpharmaceutical means of improving anxiety and poor sleep quality in young adults.


anxiety; feasibility study; randomized controlled trial; sleep quality; tai chi chuan

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