Lindy L. Weaver, Amy R. Darragh; Systematic Review of Yoga Interventions for Anxiety Reduction Among Children and Adolescents. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(6):6906180070. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.020115
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OBJECTIVE. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychological disorders among children and youths. There is growing interest in intervention options for anxiety. Yoga is widely used in clinical, school, and community settings, but consolidated sources outlining its effectiveness in reducing anxiety are limited.
METHOD. This systematic review examined the evidence base (1990–2014) for yoga interventions addressing anxiety among children and adolescents (ages 3–18 yr).
RESULTS. We identified 2,147 references and found 80 articles that were eligible for full-text review. The final analysis included 16: 6 randomized controlled trials, 2 nonrandomized preintervention–postintervention control-group designs, 7 uncontrolled preintervention–postintervention studies, and 1 case study.
CONCLUSION. Nearly all studies indicated reduced anxiety after a yoga intervention. However, because of the wide variety of study populations, limitations in some study designs, and variable outcome measures, further research is needed to enhance the ability to generalize and apply yoga to reduce anxiety.
Yoga, as defined by postures, controlled breathing, and meditation, may be effective in reducing anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms or behaviors in children and adolescents.
Because of limitations (e.g., heterogeneity in populations, measures, frequencies, durations), additional well-controlled, randomized trials are needed that include physiological and psychological measures and long-term follow-up.
Yoga programs seeking to decrease anxiety should consider tailoring yoga activities to meet the specific psychosocial needs of their target population.
Significant decreases in anxiety may be observed only in yoga programs that are provided at higher frequencies (e.g., 2–3×/wk).
When possible, a manualized yoga intervention and fidelity measures should be used.
Studies are needed that examine yoga’s impact on occupational participation and performance.
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