by Martha Goldstein-Schultz Ph.D. and Gregory M. Kane Ph.D.
Objective: Three-quarters of US undergraduate students report moderate to high-stress levels (ACHA, 2020). Recent large-scale studies have found increases in college students’ self-reported anxiety and depression, as well as ADHD, insomnia, OCD and panic attacks (Oswalt et al., 2019). We aim to assess the effect of a Hatha Yoga intervention on students’ anxiety and perceived stress levels.
Participants: Undergraduate students (n= 115, mean age= 19.97) completed scales at baseline and follow-up. Participants were assigned to Hatha Yoga (n= 62) or Health Education (n=53).
Methods: Two instruments, the Perceived Stress Scale and Beck’s Anxiety Inventory, were administered during first week and last week of the course. We compared changes in the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) and Beck’s Anxiety Inventory (BAI-21).
Results: In the Yoga group, repeated-measures t-tests indicated that within-group changes were significant from baseline to follow-up. Participants enrolled in Health Education did not report significant change in scores.
Conclusions: This research adds to the existing literature by highlighting university students’ mental health benefits of yoga courses to lower stress and anxiety levels.
Keywords: Yoga, Mindfulness, College Students’ Mental Health, Anxiety, Perceived Stress