Despite evidence of the physiologic impact of trauma, treatments are only beginning to focus on the impact of trauma on the body. Yoga may be a promising treatment for trauma sequelae, given research that supports yoga for general distress. The present study aims to systematically assess and quantitatively synthesize the effectiveness of yoga interventions for psychological symptoms (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression, anxiety symptoms) following potentially traumatic life events. The following electronic databases were systematically searched: PsycINFO, Ovid Medline/PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Embase/Embase Classic. Google Scholar, Mendeley, Open Research and Contributor Identification, and Fig Share were hand searched post hoc. The review focused on studies with a comparison group that measured psychological symptoms before and after intervention. After screening and reviewing, 12 articles (N = 791) were included, with interventions ranging from 2 days to 16 weeks. If a study contained multiple conditions, between-groups differences were only examined between the yoga and inactive control group. Though overall betweengroups (yoga vs. comparison) effect sizes ranged from ds = 0.40 -1.06, the systematic review and quantitative synthesis did not find strong evidence for the effectiveness of yoga as an intervention for PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms following traumatic life experiences due to low quality and high risk of bias of studies. As yoga has promise for managing psychological symptoms among trauma survivors, this review calls for more rigorous design of future studies to allow definitive conclusions regarding the use of yoga in mental health treatment of trauma survivors.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Systematic review
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Systematic Review