Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Lutgendorf, Susan K

Second Advisor

O'Hara, Michael W

First Committee Member

Christensen, Alan J

Second Committee Member

Marchman, James N

Third Committee Member

Vander Weg, Mark W


Background: Chronic pain conditions are pervasive, debilitating, and costly problems across the globe, yet medical treatments often fail to relieve the patients of pain. As a result, complementary treatments, such as yoga, are often used in an attempt to reduce pain and disability. Yoga seems to be effective in short-term relief of pain and, in some cases, helps alleviate psychological comorbidities associated with pain, such as depression and anxiety. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of an eight-week Forrest Yoga intervention on pain interference, pain severity, and psychological outcomes.

Methods: Seventy-nine participants were randomly assigned to yoga or usual care and completed a battery of self-report assessments at baseline, mid-intervention (4-weeks), post-intervention (8-weeks), and follow-up (16-weeks). Measures of pain interference, pain severity, number of painful body parts, sensory and affective experience of pain, psychological flexibility, pain catastrophizing, fear of movement, depression and anxiety, and social support were included.

Results: There were significant reductions in pain interference and activity avoidance in the yoga group compared to usual care post-intervention. Differences trended towards significance for pain severity and number of painful body parts. Compared to usual care, yoga participants showed significant early reductions in pain interference, pain severity, number of painful body parts, affective experience of pain, depression, overall fear of movement, and activity avoidance. Compared to usual care, these changes were not maintained at 16-weeks (2 months following the intervention).

Conclusions: The yoga intervention provided some relief of pain and pain-related problems while the intervention was ongoing but did not provide sustained relief.


chronic pain, fear of movement, pain interference, psychological flexibility, yoga


x, 150 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 72-81).


Copyright © 2018 Jennifer L. Bayer

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Psychology Commons