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A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga on mental health: taking on a dual perspective reflecting the medical and positive perspective of mental health

Knobben, Sjoerd (2013) A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga on mental health: taking on a dual perspective reflecting the medical and positive perspective of mental health.

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Abstract:Introduction: Results of systematic reviews show that yoga has a positive effect on mental health. A meta-analysis of RCTs is relevant to show reliable empirical evidence of the effectiveness of yoga on mental health. This meta-analysis differentiates itself from earlier reviews, because it takes on a dual perspective showing a more complete picture of mental health. Mental health is more than the cure of symptoms and disorders. Researchers state that taking only the medical perspective, as in reducing symptoms, is not sufficient to improve mental health. This is supported by empirical evidence. For this reason two outcomes will be analysed, illustrating the medical and positive psychology perspective, which can be complementary in the study and promotion of mental health. Methods: This paper will continue on the work of ten Damme and Kruese, who made a systematic review of yoga. From their literature list, studies that measure well-being and depression were included. This meta-analysis researched the effect yoga has on mental health. The primary outcomes in this meta-analysis are depression or depressive symptoms and well-being, which consists of emotional well-being (EWB), psychological well-being (PWB) and social well-being (SWB). Results: 34 studies have been included and 32 remained after the removal of outliers. The following effects (Hedges g) of yoga on mental health were seen: A total of 32 studies with 38 outcomes showed an effect of 0.52 (Hedges g) on mental health. On depression 29 studies showed an effect of g = 0.49, on well-being 6 studies with 11 outcomes showed an effect of g = 0.62 (EWB g=0.56, PWB g=0.53, SWB g=0.42). Subgroup analysis result shows that lower quality rated studies show lower effect sizes than higher rated studies. Also yoga is effective for all population types like healthy people, with mental illness or somatic illness. There is no indication of publication bias. Conclusion: This meta-analysis shows that yoga interventions can be effective in reducing depression, depressive symptoms and the promotion of well-being. In other words it has positive effects not only on depression, but also on the positive functioning of a person. This in turn doesn’t only lighten symptoms, but also adds buffering factors against psychopathology. This is the case for a broad selection of populations. Yoga could be a good addition to the list of positive interventions on (mental) health, in view of its possibilities.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63524
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