Health  Vol.9 No.3 , March 2017
Using Yoga to Reduce Stress and Bullying Behaviors among Urban Youth
Abstract: Background/Purpose: Obesity and secondary conditions continue to disproportionally affect the health of children living in urban areas. Studies show that a lack of resources and physical activity-unfriendly communities discourage 60 minutes of daily activity, including strengthening exercises, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using Social Ecological theory, the purpose of this study was to examine the multi-level influences of a yoga-based intervention on urban, inner city youth. Method: Using a mixed-methods design, ninety-three 3 - 5th grade students at five urban elementary schools participated in a ten-week yoga intervention. Analysis/Results: RM-ANOVA results revealed a significant reduction in stress and bullying behaviors among participants, and multiple regression analyses revealed that program attendance, change in stress, and change in yoga enjoyment significantly predicted change in yoga participation outside PE, when controlling for gender and age F(5, 87) = 5.36, p < 0.01, adj. R2 = 0.19, but did not have a significant impact on physical activity participation outside of school. Student interviews and non-participant observations revealed strong enjoyment of yoga which led students to report substantial increases in yoga-related activities outside of school. Students also revealed that experience in yoga improved focus, attention, and reduced stress. Conclusions: Through convergence of qualitative and quantitative methods, this study showed a positive relationship between the number of yoga sessions attended (dose), enjoyment of yoga, and participation in yoga outside PE with friends and family. Findings suggest that urban PE should include more individual, non-competitive activities such as yoga, which students find to be stress-relieving, fun, inexpensive and easy to perform at home.
Cite this paper: Centeio, E. , Whalen, L. , Thomas, E. , Kulik, N. and McCaughtry, N. (2017) Using Yoga to Reduce Stress and Bullying Behaviors among Urban Youth. Health, 9, 409-424. doi: 10.4236/health.2017.93029.

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