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Symptoms improve after a yoga program designed for PTSD in a randomized controlled trial with veterans and civilians.
Davis LW, Schmid AA, Daggy JK, Yang Z, O'Connor CE, Schalk N, Do AL, Maric D, Lazarick D, Knock H. Symptoms improve after a yoga program designed for PTSD in a randomized controlled trial with veterans and civilians. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy. 2020 Nov 1; 12(8):904-912.
Although yoga shows promise as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there are few randomized controlled trials that demonstrate significant benefits for individuals with PTSD. The present study addresses this need by comparing the effects of a holistic yoga program (HYP) to that of a wellness lifestyle program (WLP) on PTSD symptom severity with a randomized clinical trial.
The sample consisted of 209 participants (91.4% veterans; 66% male; 61.7% White) who met diagnostic criteria for PTSD at baseline. Participants were randomly assigned to attend one of the 2 weekly interventions for 16 weeks. The HYP consisted of yoga instruction, while the WLP consisted of didactics, discussions, and walking. PTSD severity was measured using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5) and the PTSD Checklist (PCL-5).
Analyses revealed that the HYP reduced PTSD severity measured by the CAPS-5 significantly more than the WLP at treatment end (mean difference = -5.4, effect size = 0.46, < .001), but not at 7-month follow up (mean difference = -0.9, = .603). Similarly, the HYP reduced PTSD severity measured by the PCL-5 significantly more than the WLP at treatment end (difference = -6.0, = .001), but not at 7-month follow up (mean difference = -1.0, = .682).
Yoga may be an effective intervention for PTSD in addition to standard treatments. Future yoga trials should consider adding a social component to interventions or booster classes to maintain effects long term. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).