The effects of yoga-based social-emotional learning on emotion regulation, perceived stress, and worry
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Children today face a myriad of stressors that challenge their ability to cope. Whether it’s bullying, shootings, school violence, or suicide, these events include some level of emotion dysregulation (Bradley, Whisenhunt, Adamson, & Kress, 2011). Schools are facing increasing pressure to help students learn more than academics (Lenkeit & Caro, 2014). Some states, such as Illinois and New York, have even implemented social-emotional learning standards (Payton et al., 2008). Still, suicide remains as the second leading cause of death among children ages 10-18, second only to unintentional injury (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2018a). The purpose of this study was to see if combining yoga with social-emotional learning would have an impact on emotion regulation, perceived stress, or worry among elementary-aged children. This quantitative, Mixed-ANOVA design with a control group studied 36 students in the fourth and fifth grades, 30 of whom were Hispanic. All participants were attending a bilingual elementary school in south Texas. The curriculum employed was an empirically supported, standardized, yoga-based social-emotional learning program that had been used in prior research with older children (junior high school and up). An experimental design was selected to determine the effects of a yoga-based social-emotional learning program on elementary-aged students. Data collection occurred pre-, during, and post-intervention. The intervention group showed small improvement over the treatment as usual (TAU) group, however there were no statistically significant differences between two the groups after treatment. Given some improvement in a small amount of time, it is recommended that the yoga-based social-emotional learning program be considered for future research due to its cost effectiveness and flexibility in scheduling. Implications of the results and additional recommendations for future research are discussed.
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