Impact of Yoga Therapy on Veterans with PTSD

Grant Winners

  • Lisa Fuller, Ed.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Debra Stern, DBA/DPT – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Kimberly Smith, MPT – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Stephen Messer, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • James Pann, Ph.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Elda Kanziki-Veloso, Ph.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Nancy Klimas, MD – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Angela Yehl, Psy.D. – Institute for the Study of Human Service, Health and Justice
  • Nicole Milano, M.A. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Carolina Alfonso, M.A. – Center for Psychological Studies

Deans

  • H. Wells Singleton, Ph.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Rick Davis, PA-C, Ed.D. – College of Health Care Sciences

Abstract

Award Winners

Background: Studies conducted by the Rand Corporation, the Walter Reed Army Research Institute, the Department of Veteran Affairs, Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital, and other respected research institutions state that as many as 31% of the 2.4 million U.S. veterans who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from various symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Veterans from other wars, most significantly the Vietnam War, but also the Korean War and World War II, continue to suffer from PTSD. Current literature suggests that therapeutic yoga practices are a valuable treatment component for PTSD and other trauma-related difficulties. The current proposal attempts to ascertain whether yoga is an effective intervention to reduce PTSD symptoms in veterans.

Methodology: An outcome evaluation will be used to investigate veterans with PTSD using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) along with the Wilcoxin Signed Rank Test to assess physical flexibility. This will be done through pre/ post- test design to determine the effects of biweekly yoga classes over a course of ten weeks.

Veterans with PTSD will be recruited to participate in biweekly series of yoga classes following IRB approval. This study will utilize a mixed methods approach that will involve integrating quantitative and qualitative data collection.

Rationale: To determine the effects of yoga on the stress levels and flexibility on veterans with PTSD symptoms. Yoga has been shown to improve fitness of the mind, reduce pain, increase flexibility, improve concentration and decrease stress. It is anticipated that subjects will report improvement in mental health and demonstrate positive changes in flexibility.

Analysis: Pre and post-test CAPS will be analyzed to determine statistical significance and potential improvement in stress levels and overall quality of life. Flexibility will be measured at the start of the study and following completion of the designated sessions to determine the physical effects.