The eCALM study was conceptualized in response to the unmet needs we had observed over many years of providing in-person MBCR programs. Many people who were interested were not able to attend due to barrier such as geography, travel time, parking, child care and other expenses and hassles. We felt that an online interactive program might have promise to meet this need. This was back in 2012 when online videoconferencing was very new and not common.
Protocol, Results, & Secondary Analysis
We designed the study, which was a PhD project for Dr. Kristin Zernicke as a randomized waitlist controlled trial with primarily feasibility outcomes – would people actually be able and willing to attend an 8-week online, interactive, synchronous group mindfulness program from all over our province?
The protocol paper was published in 2013, only shortly before the main results paper:
Zernicke, K., Campbell, T., Speca, M., McCabe-Ruff, K., Flowers, S., Dirkse, D., & Carlson, L.E. (2013). The eCALM Trial - eTherapy for cancer appLying mindfulness: online mindfulness-based cancer recovery program for underserved individuals living with cancer in Alberta: protocol development for a randomized wait-list controlled clinical trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 13:34. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-34.
The results were very promising, and not only did people attend, the online program resulted in better attendance than in person, and attracted more men, which has always been a drawback of the in-person program which mainly attracts women. Not only was it feasible, effects on mood and stress were similar to those seen after the in-person version.
Zernicke, K.A., Carlson, L.E. , Campell, T.S., Speca, M., Mccabe-Ruff , M., Flowers, S. (2014). A Randomized Wait-List Controlled Trial of Feasibility and Efficacy of an Online Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery Program: The eTherapy for Cancer Applying Mindfulness Trial. Psychosomatic Medicine 76(4):257-67. doi: 10.1097/PSY.000000000000005
In a secondary analysis paper, we further explored positive psychology outcomes such as spirituality and post-traumatic growth, showing effects of the online MBCR in these areas as well:
Zernicke, K.A., Campbell, T.S., Speca, M., Ruff, K.M., Flowers, S., Tamagawa, R., Carlson, L.E. (2016).The eCALM Trial: eTherapy for Cancer Applying Mindfulness. Exploratory Analyses of the Associations Between Online Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery Participation and Changes in Mood, Stress Symptoms, Mindfulness, Posttraumatic Growth, and Spirituality. Mindfulness, DOI 10.1007/s12671-016-0545-5. 2016
This gave us inspiration to further develop online and eHealth applications of mindfulness-based interventions, and led to the current ONE-MIND and SEAMLESS Studies.
To learn more about the ONE-MIND study and SEAMLESS Study, click on the links below!