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Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP)

Committee Chair

Christiane Brems, PhD, ABPP, RYT

Second Advisor

Claudia Jacova, PhD

Abstract

Research to support yoga’s growing popularity marks an exciting time in the integration of this ancient mind-body practice into Western culture. Yoga demonstrates promising effects in the treatment of a range of mental and physical health symptoms and is cost-effective. However, its rise in popularity is met by a very specific demographic: practitioners tend to be female, white, and well-educated. The current study explored the impact of commercial versus educational representations of yoga in the context of a lecture about how to build a personal yoga practice. The study employed measures of self-compassion, self-efficacy, and social physique anxiety to assess changes from baseline to post-stimulus and then again post-lecture. Participants were recruited from a small northwest-based university and randomly assigned to a control (exposure to a handout of the eight limbs of yoga) or experimental condition (exposure to a copy of Yoga Journal). Exposure to differing media sources was followed by an informational presentation on how to begin a yoga practice. ANOVAs were calculated (using gender as a covariate) to analyze findings. No significant changes emerged from baseline to post-lecture for women or men with regard to self-ratings of self-compassion and social physique anxiety. However, significant improvements emerged related to self-efficacy for both genders. For men, increase in self-efficacy was greater with exposure to an educational handout. Additionally, ANOVAs were calculated to examine the overall impact of the brief lecture on self-efficacy and self-compassion. Although there were no significant findings for self-compassion, significant changes emerged over time for self-efficacy. Implications for referrals and clinical practice are discussed.

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