Yoga to Reduce Trauma-Related Distress and Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties Among Children Living in Orphanages in Haiti: A Pilot Study.

Journal Article (Multicenter Study;Journal Article)


To measure trauma-related distress and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week yoga intervention (YI) in reducing trauma-related symptoms and emotional and behavioral difficulties (EBD) among children living in orphanages in Haiti.


Case comparison with random assignment to YI or aerobic dance control (DC) plus a nonrandomized wait-list control (WLC) group.


Two orphanages for children in Haiti.


76 children age 7 to 17 years.


The YI included yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. The DC group learned a series of dance routines. The WLC group received services as usual in the institutional setting. After completion of data collection, the WLC group received both yoga and dance classes for 8 weeks.

Outcome measures

The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire were used to indicate trauma-related symptoms and EBD, respectively. A within-subject analysis was conducted to compare pre- and post-treatment scores. A post-treatment yoga experience questionnaire evaluated acceptability of the YI.


Analyses of variance revealed a significant effect (F[2,28]=3.30; p=0.05) of the YI on the trauma-related symptom scores. Regression analyses showed that participation in either 8 weeks of yoga or dance classes suggested a reduction in trauma-related symptoms and EBD, although this finding was not statistically significant (p>0.05). Respondents reported satisfaction with the yoga program and improved well-being.


Children with trauma-related distress showed improvements in symptoms after participation in an 8-week yoga program compared to controls. Yoga is a feasible and acceptable activity with self-reported benefits to child mental and physical health. Additional research is needed to further evaluate the effect of yoga to relieve trauma-related distress and promote well-being among children.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Culver, KA; Whetten, K; Boyd, DL; O'Donnell, K

Published Date

  • September 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 539 - 545

PubMed ID

  • 26090580

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1557-7708

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1075-5535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1089/acm.2015.0017


  • eng