EVALUATION OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF A YOGA PROGRAM FOR POLICE ACADEMY RECRUITS

 

AUTHOR(S): Pamela E. Jeter, Susan Cronin, Sat Bir S. Khalsa

SOURCE: International Journal of Yoga Therapy

ABSTRACT: Law enforcement ranks as one of the most stressful occupations in the world. Occupational stress can lead to detrimental health outcomes such as depression, as well as maladaptive coping behaviors such as domestic abuse. Police academy training may not prepare recruits adequately to handle the long-term effects of occupational stress. Yoga is a mind-body practice composed of postures, breathing, and meditation techniques and is known for its beneficial effects on stress and mood disturbances. The present pilot study evaluated the effects of a 6-class Kripalu Yoga program on perceived stress, mood and mindfulness during police academy recruit training. Outcome measures included the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Profile of Mood States-Short Form (POMSSF) and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and were collected from 39 cadets pre and post- yoga program. An exit survey to determine perceived benefits was obtained on the last day. Overall improvements were observed for perceived stress (p=0.03) and mood (p=0.001). A qualitative assessment of the exit survey indicated perceived benefits however the specifics varied by individual. These preliminary results are promising and warrant further investigation.