Expectancy Effect in Three Mind-Body Clinical Trials

June 1, 2016
Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

Hicks, M., Hanes, D., & Wahbeh, H. (2016). Expectancy effect in three mind-body clinical trials. Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 21(4), NP103-NP109.


Expectancy, arguably the prime component of the placebo effect, has been shown to significantly modify the effects of many treatments. Furthermore, various forms of mind-body interventions have demonstrated effective improvements in outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between pretreatment expectations and symptom reduction in a secondary analysis of 3 mind-body intervention programs. An adjusted correlation and regression analysis compared data from a 6-question expectancy questionnaire to a self-reported clinical impression of change score. Only 1 of the 6 expectancy questions in 1 of the 3 studies reached significance (B = 0.087; P = .025). The combined data from all 3 studies did not reveal significant expectancy effects. The positive effects of mindfulness meditation appear to be independent of an expectancy effect.

Read the Paper

Join Our Global Community

Receive curated mind-bending, heart-enlivening content. We’ll never share your email address and you can unsubscribe any time.

Back to Top