Student has an IDEA about yoga and stress
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 01:09
“Yoga as an Innovative Stress Reduction Intervention” is one of this year’s student-run research projects, funded by the IDEA grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research on campus. Senior Makayla Davis was selected as a recipient for the grant and is about to put her months of preparation to the test.
The project builds off past work Davis has assisted Dr. Crystal Park with, who is now her current IDEA mentor, in the field of clinical counseling. Their study investigated yoga’s effect on stress management, and now she has the opportunity to take that research further. Davis is looking to reveal the impact yoga has on patients’ standard stress management practices as a supplemental treatment.
After pending Institutional Review Board approval, which is necessary for any experiment involving human subjects, Davis will be recruiting UConn students who undergo regular stress management treatment. Their current treatments may be as varied as anxiety-reducing medications, group therapy or individual counseling. The experimental group will regularly attend yoga in addition to continuing their usual stress-reducing regime, while the control group will not. Participants will be evaluated through questionnaires at the start and end of the eight-week trial period. While yoga is already commonly practiced for stress-relief, Davis is looking to discover just how much of an impact it can have, especially when compared to less natural anti-anxiety medication.
Davis is hoping to help counselors go beyond common stress management techniques, while also redefining the perception of Mental Health Services on college campuses. A negative connotation of Mental Health Services causes students to shy away from stress-relief resources that have very positive long-term effects.
“College environment it’s very important to reduce the stigma of mental health and offer alternative treatments such as yoga,” Davis said.
With this approach, Davis is looking to pursue a career in counseling and higher education after graduation, specifically in applying behavioral research.
She will analyze the results early next year and present at Frontiers Night here at UConn and at a behavioral science conference in Philadelphia, Penn.