Use of a randomized multiple baseline design: rationale and design of the spirited life holistic health intervention study.
Clergy suffer from high rates of obesity, chronic disease, and depression, and simultaneously underestimate the toll these take on their daily functioning. Health interventions are needed for clergy and may be tailored to their occupational context and theological beliefs. Few studies have sought to improve clergy health. No prior studies have utilized a randomized design. Spirited Life is a randomized, multiple baseline study that offered enrollment to nearly all United Methodist Church clergy in North Carolina in fall 2010. A total of 1114 clergy (response rate = 64%) enrolled. Using a multiple baseline design, we randomized participants to three cohorts. Each cohort began the health intervention in one of three consecutive years. The third cohort served as a randomized waitlist control cohort, allowing comparisons between the first and third cohorts. The two-year Spirited Life intervention consists of: 1) a theological underpinning for health stewardship based on incarnation, grace, and response and delivered during workshops; 2) the stress management program Williams LifeSkills; 3) Naturally Slim, an online weight loss program; 4) phone contact with a Wellness Advocate; and 5) $500 small grants for health goals. Metabolic syndrome is the primary endpoint. Stress and depressive severity are secondary endpoints. We measured each construct before, twice during, and at the end of the two-year intervention. Study outcomes, to be published after follow-up data are gathered, will provide evidence of the effectiveness of the combined intervention components of Spirited Life. If successful, the intervention may be considered for use with other clergy and faith populations.
Proeschold-Bell, RJ; Swift, R; Moore, HE; Bennett, G; Li, X-F; Blouin, R; Williams, VP; Williams, RB; Toole, D
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