Yoga’s impact on risk and protective factors for disordered eating: a pilot prevention trial

C. R. Pacanowski, L. Diers, R. D. Crosby, M. Mackenzie, D. Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Yoga has been proposed as a strategy for improving risk and protective factors for eating disorders, but few prevention trials have been conducted. The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a yoga series in female college students (n = 52). Participants were randomized to a yoga intervention (three 50-minute yoga classes/week for 10 weeks conducted by certified yoga teachers who received a 3-day intensive training) or a control group. Risk and protective factors, assessed at baseline, 5 and 10 weeks, included body dissatisfaction, negative affect, loneliness, self-compassion, positive affect, and mindfulness. Mixed models controlling for baseline levels of outcome variables were run. On average, participants attended 20 out of 30 yoga classes, and the majority of participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the yoga series. Appearance orientation decreased and positive affect increased in the yoga group relative to the control group. After controlling for baseline levels, the yoga group had a significantly higher positive affect than the control group. Changes in other outcomes were not statistically significant, as compared to the control condition. Future yoga research directions are discussed including education about body image, measure and sample selection, and use of an implementation science framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-541
Number of pages29
JournalEating disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express their gratitude to the yoga interventionists who worked on this trial: Gwen Hayes, Andrea Boulden, and Susan Smith. Additionally, research assistants, whose dedication, follow-through, and positivity were imperative to the success of conducting this trial, and deserve recognition: Brielle Evangelista, Alexa Nichols, Adrienne Fraczkowski, Haillie Tandon, and Hannah Lightcap.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


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