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|Title:||Yoga as an adjuvant therapy for students enrolled in special schools for disruptive behaviour|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Discipline of Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health
|Abstract:||Disruptive behaviour in children and adolescents has a negative impact on their families, schools, and communities. Common treatments include medication, behaviour management, psychosocial and family programs in various combinations. These treatments have some success, but there is need for improvement in response and relapse rates following treatment. Yoga encourages participants to be actively and independently involved in their own treatment and self-management through respiratory awareness and manipulation, postures and cognitive control. Yoga practices have a positive effect on brain wave frequencies, glucose metabolism, neurotransmitter activity and the autonomic nervous system, all of which are affected in disruptive behaviour. In young people, yoga and similar mind body approaches have been shown to reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, aggression and anxiety. However, many of the trials involving young people, took place up to three decades ago. This research needs to be revived and applied to the school environment where the problems are most evident and where inexpensive, non-intrusive and self-management strategies are needed. Aims and Design This controlled field study, using a within and between repeated measures design examined the impact of yoga on the behaviour of students aged 8-16 years, enrolled at special schools for disruptive behaviour with the New South Wales Department of Education, Australia. Of the seventy-eight participants (five female) enrolled in the study, sixteen students acted as their own controls, fifty–five participated in yoga intervention only and seven were in the control condition only. Altogether seventy-one (71) students participated in the yoga intervention and twenty-three (23) in the control condition. Methods The yoga intervention, a 13-week comprehensive program consisting of two to three 30-40 minute sessions per week, was taught by a qualified, experienced yoga teacher who was also a specialist teacher for behaviourally disordered students (PSJ). The control group experienced the standard school program provided by the special school. Control and yoga participants were pre- and post-tested on the Conners’ Teacher and Parent Rating Scales–Revised Long Version (CTRS-R: L, CRRS-R: L), the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch), the Trait component of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) or the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC) and the Self Description Questionnaire I or II (SDQI &II). Behaviour observations were conducted using the Behaviour Assessment System for Children- Portable Observation Program (BASC-POP) in both the classroom (for control and yoga groups) and the yoga classes by blind independent observers and by the main researcher. School staff wrote comprehensive daily notes, in yoga classes and recorded students’ on- and off-task behaviours. Measures designed by the researchers consisted of the Feelings Faces Scale (FFS) that was completed after the last yoga class for the week by all students; a yoga survey (YS) requesting student perceptions of the benefits of yoga and Individual Assessments of Yoga Competence (IAYC) that were completed at the end of the yoga intervention by two subgroups. A Physical, Emotional and Mental States (PEMS) measure was administered prev and post-yoga sessions for a subgroup. Breathing patterns before, during and after the yoga relaxation session were recorded using Respiratory Inductive Plethysmography (RIP) bands in a subgroup and compared with three young people without disruptive behaviour. Results were analysed using the General Liner Model for all pre- and post-test measures. Mean scores were calculated for the FFS, the Yoga Survey and the IAYC. Visual analysis of the RIP results was conducted by researchers. Results Of 71 participants in the yoga group 12 (16.9%) attended from 7 to 10 classes; 36 (50.5%) attended from 11 to 20 classes and 23 (32.5%) attended from 21 to 35 classes. Total absences from the yoga classes (39.76%) were due to sickness and truancy (32.35%); lack of interest, (45.71%); work experience, home school visits or other school programs, (15.89%); and suspension from school (6.04%). Of the 33 students in the control group, 10 (32.35%) discontinued due to leaving the school (n=6) or truancy (n=4); 23 (67.65%) remained in the control group. Major findings were as follows: On the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scales Revised-: Long Version (CTRS-R: L), significant improvement over time was found for the yoga group (n=64) in the Oppositional subscale. No other significant changes were seen over time or in group by time interactions for the yoga (n=64) or the control groups (n=20). On the Conners’ Parent Rating Scales Revised-: Long Version (CRRS-R: L), significant improvements over time were seen in ten out of fifteen subscales for the control group (n=10) and deterioration in vi six subscales for the yoga intervention (n=16). Group by time interaction, favouring the control group was seen in thirteen subscales. Significant improvements on the Test of Everyday Attention for Children, (TEA-Ch) were seen on two subtests of focused attention and two subtests of sustained attention (one borderline) for the yoga group and two subtests of focused attention, two subtests of sustained attention and one of switching attention for the control group. No significant changes were observed on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) or the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC) nor on the Self Description Questionnaire I or II SDQ I & II) but pre-test levels were within normal limits. Subgroup analysis of the CTRS-R: L. of students who participated in over 20 classes (n=14) indicated more pronounced significance on the Oppositional subscale. On the Behaviour Assessment System for Children-Portable Observation Program, (BASC-POP) significant group by time interaction reductions were observed in oppositional behaviour with a trend in hyperactive behaviours favouring the yoga group in the classroom. Over time, the yoga group’s (n=19) classroom behaviours indicated significant reductions in impulsive behaviour and borderline reductions in hyperactivity and total ADHD behaviours. Numbers assessed on this measure were reduced due to one rater proving unreliable (and whose ratings were discarded) and due to technical problems. The control group (n=16) showed no significant changes in classroom behaviours. Subgroup analysis of the BASC-POP for students who acted as their own controls (n=8) indicated significantly less ADHD behaviours in yoga classes at the end of the program compared with all other assessment times. In the yoga classes (n=21) at the beginning of the intervention ADHD behaviours were 33% of classroom behaviours compared with 25% at the end (n=20) of the intervention. Staff observations of yoga classes indicated on-task behavioural descriptors outnumbered off-task descriptors by approximately 4:1. Weekly selfvii reports on the Feelings Faces Scale (n ≤ 35), immediately after yoga each week, showed an overall positive response in mood, enjoyment of the program, and confidence in yoga practice. Self-report on the Physical, Emotional, Mental States measure, showed significant positive changes in physical, emotional and mental states from the beginning of yoga sessions to the end of sessions in a subgroup of students (n≤13). The Yoga Survey indicated benefits for 63% to 80% of the respondents (n=27) in six out of the seven items. On the Individual Assessment of Yoga Competence students (n=11) scored a mean of 79.64 % (SD 9.44). Breathing patterns, for students with disruptive behaviour (n=7), indicated greater stability during the relaxation compared with before and to a lesser degree after the relaxation but were not as stable as the breathing patterns of students without disruptive behaviour (n=3) throughout the testing period. Discussion Yoga as an intervention for students enrolled at behaviour school appears to have immediate positive effects as perceived by students immediately after sessions, in observations of behaviour during the yoga class, in assessed ability during a yoga class and in the stabilizing effects on breathing effort during relaxation. Collecting data on a regular basis appears to be a method of overcoming spasmodic attendance and early withdrawal. Few significant results were found on standardized measures. Results on these tests were affected by a number of methodological issues such as (i) fluctuations in attendance, (ii) withdrawals from the program weeks before post-program assessments, and (iii) to the intervention not being long viii and intense enough for parents and teachers to perceive significant changes in the environments in which the students had been ‘acting out’ for most of their childhood.|
|Description:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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