Alterations in Stress Physiology Following Yogic Breathing and Cognitively Based Psychosocial Workshops for College Students
AuthorGoldstein, Michael R.
AdvisorAllen, John JB
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCollege and graduate school present a number of challenges for students, often while they are also juggling other major life transitions that impact social relationships, sleep, physical health, and overall well-being. In this study, students were randomized to one of two psychosocial stress-management interventions. One workshop, Your Enlightened Side (YESplus), taught a yogic breathing and acceptance-based approach to stress-management in a rich social environment. Wisdom On Wellness (WOW), in contrast, targeted cognitive approaches to stress-management while matching YESplus in terms of scheduling and duration (4 consecutive days, 18 hours total), group size, amount of material, general format, and involving some level of social interaction. Outcomes were evaluated across self-report domains of stress and wellness, as well as psychophysiological response to a laboratory stress induction at pre, post, and 3-month follow-up. Forty-five students completed all timepoints and were used for analysis. YESplus and WOW participants reported similarly high ratings of the workshops, along with similar retention rates from first to last day of workshop (92% vs. 91%), as well as from post to 3-month follow-up (79% vs. 70%). YESplus demonstrated significant decreases in perceived stress at post (-24.6% average change, p=.017, d=-0.58) as well as 3-month follow-up (-22.3%, p=.002, d=-0.84) relative to pre-workshop, in contrast to no significant changes for WOW (0.8% average change at post and -10.5% at follow-up). A number of other improvements in self-report measures of well-being including sleep, social connectedness, depression, self-esteem, and life satisfaction were observed for YESplus, but not WOW, after correcting for multiple comparisons. At laboratory visits, WOW demonstrated anticipatory stress-related increases in resting breathing rate and heart rate from pre to post-workshop, while YESplus demonstrated a protective effect and did not change. Decreases in heart rate during stress induction were evident for both groups at post-workshop as well as 3-month follow-up relative to pre-workshop (d’s=-0.52 to -0.92). However, improvements in heart rate variability were significant after correction for multiple comparisons only for WOW. These findings have implications for understanding changes in subjective well-being and acute stress physiology in response to brief psychosocial and breathing-based versus cognitively based interventions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College