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Behavioral and Psychophysiological Effects of a Yoga Intervention on High-Risk Adolescents: A Randomized Control Trial

NCJ Number
Journal of Child and Family Studies Volume: 25 Dated: 2016 Pages: 518-29
Date Published
12 pages

The authors of this paper discuss their research on the impacts of mindful yoga interventions for youths at risk of dropping out of school; they present their methodology, outcomes, and suggestions for future research.


The purpose of this study was to conduct a pilot, randomized control trial to test whether a mindful yoga intervention had a beneficial impact on substance use and its psychological and psychophysiological correlates in high-risk adolescents. Research on yoga has generated growing evidence for its positive effects on physical and emotional health. However, most studies are conducted with adults, with few controlled studies conducted with youth. To address this, the authors designed a 20-session mindful yoga intervention for adolescents attending a school for students at high-risk for dropping out. The 50-minute classes were offered three times a week, and participants were randomly assigned to control and intervention groups. Multi-rater (student, teacher), multi-method (survey, cognitive, psychophysiological) data were collected before and after the yoga curriculum. At post-test, students in the yoga condition, as compared to control students, exhibited trends toward decreased alcohol use and improved teacher-rated social skills; and showed a non-significant increase in arousal in response to relevant stimuli as measured in skin conductance. Significant effects were not found on hypothesized proximal measures of self-regulation, mood, mindfulness, or involuntary engagement coping. Future research is needed to replicate and expand upon these findings. Studies are also needed with larger samples to further investigate potential mediators and moderators of yoga’s effects. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2016