Yoga May Be Beneficial for Symptoms of Depression

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Investigators examined whether program preference, credibility, or expectancy predicted engagement in depression interventions or depression symptom severity.
Investigators examined whether program preference, credibility, or expectancy predicted engagement in depression interventions or depression symptom severity.

Yoga as a means of treating depression has shown an association with lower depressive symptoms only for individuals with a high level of expectancy for treatment, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

The original trial investigated in this secondary analysis which included 122 participants with depression, all of whom attended a maximum of 20 classes over a 10-week period. Other individuals engaged in a health education program and served as a control group. Treatment engagement was not significantly related to treatment expectancy, credibility, or concordance. 

Treatment expectancy did play a moderating role between depression and treatment group, with higher levels of expectancy correlating with lower depressive symptoms over time for those engaged in yoga but not control. Credibility followed a similar trend, though concordance did not show any significant association with outcome of treatment.

Assessments of individuals in the randomized controlled trial were performed at baseline and after 3 and 6 months. Treatment preference was reported before random assignment, and treatment expectancy and credibility were reported following the participants' first class. Concordance was a measure of whether the participants had been assigned to their preferred method of treatment.

Limitations include the fact that this study was a post-hoc analysis, and the study researchers note that it should be viewed as a hypothesis-generating investigation.

The study researchers conclude that “expectancy improves the likelihood of success only for [an] intervention thought to actively target depression (yoga) and not a control intervention.”

Reference

Uebelacker LA, Weinstock LM, Battle CL, Abrantes AM, Miller IW. Treatment credibility, expectancy, and preference: Prediction of treatment engagement and outcome in a randomized clinical trial of hatha yoga vs. health education as adjunct treatments for depressionJ Affect Disord. 2018; 238:111-117.

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