Feasibility and acceptability of a brief acupuncture intervention for service members with perceived stress

Feasibility and acceptability of a brief acupuncture intervention for service members with perceived stress


Name: Jane Abanes

Rank: CDR

Presenter/Poster: Accepted - no presentation due to COVID19 response

Year: 2020


Description of the study: The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility and acceptability of a standardized stress acupuncture (SSA) approach on perceived stress in U.S. military personnel.

Objectives: This study had the following aims: examine feasibility of recruitment for SSA and implementation of study procedures in preparation for a methodologically rigorous study; examine acceptability of SSA treatment in a sample of military personnel with perceived stress; and examine change in perceived stress and general health before and after SSA. Background: Perceived stress exacerbates psychological risk factors that contribute to mood disorders, adjustment disorders, anxiety-related disorders, chronic stress disorders, substance-related disorders, and suicide. Given the sequela of perceived stress in military personnel and the continued rise in mental health concerns within this population, research investigating interventions that alleviate stress is paramount.

Methods: This was a single-arm, single-site study protocol which assessed the feasibility of SSA in 16 patients with perceived stress. Upon IRB approval and written informed consent, the participants received 4 weekly sessions of SSA which consisted of 6 acupuncture points.

Findings: This study showed that recruitment and implementation of SSA is feasible in service members. Service members found SSA to be acceptable. Statistically significant increases were found on the energy/fatigue, well-being, and social functioning components of the Short Form Health Survey (SF 36) (reliable change: 50%, 56%, and 25% respectively, Cohen’s d = 0.72-0.78, all p < .05). A statistically significant decrease in perceived stress based was found on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) (reliable change 63%, Cohen’s d = 1.03, p = 0.001). These results suggest that SSA is a feasible and acceptable treatment for perceived stress in military personnel. Preliminary findings suggest that SSA may be useful in improving energy/fatigue, social functioning, and perceived stress of service members. Implications for military nursing: Integrating acupuncture in caring for our service members is a feasible and acceptable intervention in alleviating perceived stress. Future research that investigate SSA for perceived stress, chronic stress, emotional and physical health, and pain, in comparison with other treatment modalities, may be considered by military nursing investigators.