Evidence map of yoga for depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder

W. Duan-Porter, R.R. Coeytaux, J.R. McDuffie, A.P. Goode, P. Sharma, H. Mennella, A. Nagi, Jr. Williams J.W.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: This study describes evidence of yoga's effectiveness for depressive disorders, general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. We also address adverse events associated with yoga. Methods: We searched multiple electronic databases for systematic reviews (SRs) published between 2008 and July 2014, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) not identified in eligible SRs, and ongoing RCTs registered with ClincalTrials.gov. Results: We identified 1 SR on depression, 1 for adverse events, and 3 addressing multiple conditions. The high-quality depression SR included 12 RCTs (n = 619) that showed improved short-term depressive symptoms (standardized mean difference, -0.69, 95% confidence interval, -0.99 to -0.39), but there was substantial variability (I2 = 86%) and a high risk of bias for 9 studies. Three SRs addressing multiple conditions identified 4 nonrandomized studies (n = 174) for GAD/PD and 1 RCT (n = 8) and 2 nonrandomized studies (n = 22) for PTSD. We separately found 1 RCT (n = 13) for GAD and 2 RCTs (n = 102) for PTSD. Collectively, these studies were inconclusive for the effectiveness of yoga in treating GAD/PD and PTSD. The highquality SR for adverse events included 37 primary reports (n = 76) in which inversion postures were most often implicated. We found 5 ongoing trials (3 for PTSD). Conclusions: Yoga may improve short-term depressive symptoms, but evidence for GAD, PD, and PTSD remain inconclusive. © 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Cited By :6

Export Date: 26 December 2018

Funding details: Office of Academic Affiliations, Department of Veterans Affairs, OAA, VA

Funding details: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA

Funding details: Health Services Research and Development, HSR&D, TPM 21-022

Funding details: Health Services Research and Development, HSR&D, No.09-010

Funding details: School of Medicine, Duke University

Funding details: RTI International

Funding details: Office of Research and Development, ORD

Funding text 1: We thank Megan Von Isenberg (Duke University Medical Center Library and Archives) for help with the literature search, and Sarah Cassel (Duke School of Medicine) and Sreelatha Meleth (RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC) for their help with various stages of the original VA report. This report is based on research conducted by the Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Center located at the Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC, and funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development (VA-ESP Project No.09-010; 2014). Fellowship support for WDP was provided by Grant TPM 21-022 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Academic Affiliations. The funding sources had no involvement in study design, any phase of data collection, analysis or interpretation, manuscript preparation or the decision to submit this work for publication.


  • Panic disorder
  • PTSD
  • Systematic review
  • adult
  • anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • depression
  • female
  • human
  • male
  • panic
  • psychology
  • randomized controlled trial (topic)
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
  • treatment outcome
  • yoga
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panic Disorder
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga


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