Title

Effects of yoga on stress among college students in a post-Katrina population

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Tammy Greer

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Prior research has indicated that undergraduate students do not use college counseling services regularly when confronted with stress. Rather, the students are more likely to engage in physical activity that may have some ameliorative effects and research has shown that traditional exercise, such as walking, does have some effect on stress in this population. However, there are attractive and readily available alternatives to traditional exercise, such as Hatha yoga, that may offer increased benefits over exercise as Hatha yoga is a more comprehensive practice that includes meditative, ethical, and exercise components. This study compared distress states, spiritual growth, physical improvement, and quality of life for individuals participating in comprehensive Hatha yoga practice versus a Hatha yoga regimen having only an exercise component versus a traditional exercise--walking. Differences across time for stress and depression, and interactions for physical variables for both yoga groups are discussed. Possible explanations for results are discussed, with particular attention paid to aspects specific to a post-Katrina population.