Vidya Institute’s Integrative Yoga Research

Empirical Evaluations Of Yoga & The Vedic Sciences

Most of the following research projects were completed as part of Kathryn Curtis’s graduate work towards an MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology at York University. The last project, in progress, is part of her post-doctoral research at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network.

Project 5

The relationship between stress, mood, mindfulness and neurocognitive function and a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in community dwelling seniors.

The objectives of this pilot study were to evaluate the effects of an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on measures of psychological well-being and neurocognitive functioning in a sample of community dwelling seniors.

Measures and Data Collection: Participants (N=10) were community members who participated in a standardized mindfulness-based stress reduction program for 8 weeks. All participants were given a series of questionnaires pre- (T1), mid- (T2) and post- (T3) treatment to evaluate various aspects of stress, mood, anxiety and mindfulness. Participants were asked to fill out three pencil and paper neurocognitive tasks that measure working memory, processing speed, attention, and executive function.

Results: Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that mean ± standard deviation (SD) scores improved significantly (p < 0.05) from pre- to post-intervention for HADS-A, F (2,14) = 3.78, p < 0.05, hp2­ ­­ = .35, and TMT-A, F (2,14) = 7.43, p < 0.01, hp2­ ­­ = .52, as well as trends towards significance for TMS-Decentering, F (2,14) = 2.96, p = .085, hp2­ ­­ = .30, and Coding, F (2,14) = 3.62, p = .054, hp2­ ­­ = .34. Tukey’s post-hoc testing revealed significantly lower scores on HADS-A and TMT-A at T3 when compared to T1, (p < .05).

Discussion: The results from the study suggested that seniors may experience lower levels of anxiety and increases in basic attention and processing speed related to paper-and-pencil motor tasks after participating in an 8 week MBSR program. It is possible that the changes in anxiety and attention may influence other mental experiences and cognitive faculties, which are relevant for an aging population.


NOTE: This study was conducted at Vidya Institute in June-July, 2012.

NOTE: This study is unpublished.

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