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The Effectiveness of Wellness Coaching for Improving Quality of Life

      Abstract

      Objective

      To learn more about the potential psychosocial benefits of wellness coaching. Although wellness coaching is increasing in popularity, there are few published outcome studies.

      Patients and Methods

      In a single-cohort study design, 100 employees who completed the 12-week wellness coaching program were of a mean age of 42 years, 90% were women, and most were overweight or obese. Three areas of psychosocial functioning were assessed: quality of life (QOL; 5 domains and overall), depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), and perceived stress level (Perceived Stress Scale-10). Participants were recruited from January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011; data were collected up to July 31, 2012, and were analyzed from August 1, 2012, through October 31, 2013.

      Results

      These 100 wellness coaching completers exhibited significant improvements in all 5 domains of QOL and overall QOL ( P<.0001), reduced their level of depressive symptoms ( P<.0001), and reduced their perceived stress level ( P<.001) after 12 weeks of in-person wellness coaching, and they maintained these improvements at the 24-week follow-up.

      Conclusion

      In this single-arm cohort study (level 2b evidence), participating in wellness coaching was associated with improvement in 3 key areas of psychosocial functioning: QOL, mood, and perceived stress level. The results from this single prospective cohort study suggest that these areas of functioning improve after participating in wellness coaching; however, randomized clinical trials involving large samples of diverse individuals are needed to establish level 1 evidence for wellness coaching.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BMI ( body mass index), PHQ-9 ( Patient Health Questionnaire-9), QOL ( quality of life)
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