Presentation Title

Yoga Intervention for State Anxiety Reduction in University Students

Presenter's Name(s)

Kristen MackieFollow

Time

1:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Health Sciences

Abstract

University students are adversely affected by psychological distress, more so than their non-university-attending counterparts (Adlaf, Gliksman, Demers, & Newton-Taylor, 2001; Bewick, Koutsopoulou, Miles, Slaa, & Barkham, 2010). Many students experience decreased psychological well-being and quality of life, which begets feelings of depression, along with thoughts of self-harm and suicide (Furr, Westefeld, McConnell, & Jenkins, 2001).

Yoga, which has become increasingly popular in the United States, has significant benefits on physical and psychological health (Ross & Thomas, 2010). Research has shown the effectiveness of yoga interventions to reduce levels of anxiety and decrease symptoms of depression, as well as improve the overall well-being (de Manincor et al., 2016)

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of a one-hour yoga class on immediate measures of state anxiety and affect amongst university students. Students at the University of Vermont attended a one-hour yoga flow class and completed surveys both before and immediately following the class. The surveys included the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), along with some other field-related questions. Fifty-nine students participated, of which 33% reported using alcohol and 30% reported using marijuana as strategies for coping with life stressors. Results revealed that the yoga intervention significantly reduced students’ state anxiety by 25%, improved their positive affect by 21%, and decreased their negative affect by 25%. Future research is recommended to explore the effects on different populations and to determine the duration of positive effects. In conclusion, this research demonstrated that participation in a single yoga class immediately improved affect and reduced anxiety, thus providing a healthy option for anxiety management in university students.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Karen Westervelt

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Program/Major

Exercise Science

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

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Yoga Intervention for State Anxiety Reduction in University Students

University students are adversely affected by psychological distress, more so than their non-university-attending counterparts (Adlaf, Gliksman, Demers, & Newton-Taylor, 2001; Bewick, Koutsopoulou, Miles, Slaa, & Barkham, 2010). Many students experience decreased psychological well-being and quality of life, which begets feelings of depression, along with thoughts of self-harm and suicide (Furr, Westefeld, McConnell, & Jenkins, 2001).

Yoga, which has become increasingly popular in the United States, has significant benefits on physical and psychological health (Ross & Thomas, 2010). Research has shown the effectiveness of yoga interventions to reduce levels of anxiety and decrease symptoms of depression, as well as improve the overall well-being (de Manincor et al., 2016)

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of a one-hour yoga class on immediate measures of state anxiety and affect amongst university students. Students at the University of Vermont attended a one-hour yoga flow class and completed surveys both before and immediately following the class. The surveys included the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), along with some other field-related questions. Fifty-nine students participated, of which 33% reported using alcohol and 30% reported using marijuana as strategies for coping with life stressors. Results revealed that the yoga intervention significantly reduced students’ state anxiety by 25%, improved their positive affect by 21%, and decreased their negative affect by 25%. Future research is recommended to explore the effects on different populations and to determine the duration of positive effects. In conclusion, this research demonstrated that participation in a single yoga class immediately improved affect and reduced anxiety, thus providing a healthy option for anxiety management in university students.