Curriculum-based yoga and acceptance and commitment training intervention for undergraduate students: A mixed-methods investigation

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Behavioral health difficulties are prevalent for college students globally. Curriculum-based workshops are gaining support as one means of supplementing college counseling services. Further, there is little research on the use of yoga for college populations. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of a curriculum-based intervention using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and yoga on psychological flexibility and distress over time (pre- and post-workshop and 4-week follow-up). Another aim was to assess receptivity towards and helpfulness of a curriculum-based ACT workshop. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: ACT plus yoga intervention, ACT-only intervention, and a teaching-as-usual control group. It was hypothesized that college students would demonstrate lower levels of psychological inflexibility and psychological distress over time following the ACT plus yoga workshop compared to the two other groups. Results (N = 237) indicated significant differences between intervention groups with changes in psychological inflexibility from post-workshop to follow-up. Those in the ACT plus yoga group demonstrated higher psychological inflexibility immediately following the workshop, and these scores decreased at follow-up. Additionally, from post-workshop to follow-up, all three groups decreased in psychological inflexibility. There were no significant differences between intervention groups in changes in psychological distress. In analyzing the qualitative data, both intervention groups reported that the most helpful component was mindfulness. In the ACT plus yoga group, the second most helpful component reported was yoga. Implications for using movement-based ACT interventions and curriculum-based interventions are discussed.

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Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science

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