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Keywords:

  • health-related quality of life;
  • nursing home;
  • social support;
  • state self-esteem;
  • Tai Chi

Aim.  To determine the psychosocial effect of Tai Chi on nursing home residents.

Background.  Moving into a nursing home usually imposes a certain degree of psychosocial challenge to older people. However, there is limited evidence suggesting a promising intervention that can promote the psychosocial health for this group. Although previous studies suggest that Tai Chi has the potential to enhance psychosocial well-being, existing evidence is deemed scarce and thus imposes a limitation on drawing out conclusions on this matter.

Design.  Non-equivalent pretest–posttest control group design.

Methods.  A convenience sample of 139 residents from six nursing homes in Hong Kong was recruited for this study. The experimental group (= 66) participated in a 26-week Tai Chi programme, while the control group (= 73) continued its normal daily activities. The outcome measures included state self-esteem, the physical and mental component of health-related quality of life, social support network and social support satisfaction. Resident satisfaction was identified as a covariate because it demonstrated significant correlation with the outcome variables and, likewise, showed significant difference between the two study groups at baseline. Doubly multivariate analysis of covariance was performed to examine the effect of the intervention.

Results.  Results indicate significant Group × Time interactions, with the experimental group experiencing significant improvement in the composite outcome of state self-esteem, the physical component of health-related quality of life and the mental component of health-related quality of life across the 26-week study period [F(6, 131) = 2·61, = 0·02)]. No significant changes were detected regarding the effect of the Tai Chi programme on social support.

Conclusion.  Tai Chi practice is beneficial for nursing home residents.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Tai Chi has unique characteristics that are particularly suitable in the practice of health exercise for nursing home residents. The inclusion of Tai Chi in residential care practice for older people is recommended.