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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 69-76

Differential effects of classical yoga intervention on resilience of male and female migrant college students


1 Department of Research, Maharshi Vinod Research Foundation, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychology, Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission05-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance09-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication26-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sanhitta J Karmalkar
403-04, Aalap, Sir Bhalchandra Road, Hindu Colony, Dadar East, Mumbai - 400 014, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoyppp.ijoyppp_39_21

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  Abstract 


Background: Yoga is effective for managing stress and increasing resilience of college students. However, there is a scarcity of research on differences between males and females in the effects of Yoga. Aim: The present study aims to investigate the effect Classical Yoga Intervention (CYI) on resilience of rural-to-urban migrant college students as migration is a challenging situation demanding resilient adaptation. It also explores sex differences in the effects of CYI. Methods: The study included 125 migrant college students (age 16–18 years). Sixty-two students (30 males, 32 females) from the CYI group underwent 40 sessions of CYI and 63 (33 males, 30 females) in the control group did not receive intervention at that time. Resilience was measured using Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale. Mixed Analysis of Variance was conducted to understand the independent and interactive effects of test time (pretest, posttest), sex (male, female), and group (CYI, control). Results: CYI group improved significantly on resilience as compared to control group from pretest to posttest indicating positive effects of Yoga. CYI group females were significantly higher than control group females on posttest scores of resilience, whereas no difference was found between CYI and control group males. Within the CYI group, no significant difference was found between males and females on posttest scores of resilience. Conclusion: The study indicates a positive effect of CYI on resilience. Although females of the CYI group showed higher improvements as compared to control group females, it can be said that Yoga is effective for both males and females.

Keywords: Classical Yoga, resilience, rural-to-urban migrant students, sex differences


How to cite this article:
Karmalkar SJ, Vaidya A. Differential effects of classical yoga intervention on resilience of male and female migrant college students. J Appl Conscious Stud 2022;10:69-76

How to cite this URL:
Karmalkar SJ, Vaidya A. Differential effects of classical yoga intervention on resilience of male and female migrant college students. J Appl Conscious Stud [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 24];10:69-76. Available from: http://www.jacsonline.in/text.asp?2022/10/1/69/343857




  Introduction Top


Yoga is an ancient Indian psychophysical and spiritual practice which aims to bring holistic transformation and mitigate suffering (Rao & Paranjpe, 2008). Yoga Sadhana (dedicated, consistent Yoga practice) endows one with refined awareness of the already existent harmony between different aspects such as body, mind, intellect, and soul (Vinod, 2004). Yoga helps in coping with stress and other challenges. Resilience is a multidimensional and inferential construct related to positive adaptation even in the presence of significant risk/threat to major developmental processes (Masten, 2001). As the lives of today's college students are complex, Yoga can be an effective tool to cope with stress and manage emotions (Hagen & Nayar, 2014). It also increases resilience (Santhi, 2015; Khalsa et al., 2012) and improves mood and well-being (Khalsa & Gould, 2012).

Within college students, rural-to-urban migrant students constitute a unique group. Research has shown that young migrants become prone to experiencing deprivation and conflict. Yet, there is a scarcity of scientific literature on youth migration (Rajan, 2013). Migrants are more likely to experience acculturation stress (Finch et al., 2004), isolation (Bhugra, 2004), and harmful health consequences when combined with discrimination (Finch et al., 2000). Hence, considering rural-to-urban migration as a challenge demanding positive adaptation, the study aimed to investigate the effect of Classical Yoga Intervention (CYI) on resilience of rural-to-urban migrant college students.

The experience and output of yoga can be different for males and females. It has been found that after 12 weeks of meditation training, female university students had a significant reduction in negative affect, increased mindfulness and self-compassion as compared to male students (Rojiani et al., 2017). In another study, mindfulness training led to higher improvement in positive affect among adolescent females from the experimental group as compared to the females from control group, whereas no significant difference was found between adolescent males from experimental and control groups (Kang et al., 2018). Considering the differences between males and females with respect to the effects of yoga, the present research attempted to study whether females showed higher effects of CYI on resilience as compared to males.

Rationale and significance

Empirical evidence suggests that yoga reduces stress and increases resilience. However, research on the psychological effects of yoga for adolescents and young adults is still a relatively new field of investigation and needs further development (Hagen & Nayar, 2014). It is the need of the hour to investigate the effects of yoga for young people as among this group, problems of stress and anxiety are common, on the rise, and likely to increase even more (Sunitha & Gururaj, 2014). Within the larger group of college students, rural-to-urban migrant students are unique due to the stress and challenges faced by them. Hence, the effect of CYI on resilience of rural-to-urban migrant college students has been studied. Limited research has been conducted on youth migration and its mental health consequences (Albers et al., 2016). This highlights the need for research on yoga for mental health and resilience of migrant students.

Although various studies have provided information on effects of meditative practices in general, there is very limited research on gender differences in the outcome of such interventions (Upchurch & Johnson, 2019). The same applies for yoga as well. Hence, the aim of the present study is to fill this gap in literature by examining differences in effects of yoga for males and females. Gender differences can indicate whether males and females engage with and benefit from yoga in different ways. This is a remarkable area of research as the developmental trajectories of males and females are divergent and these differences become more prominent, especially during adolescence. Such differences can be seen in their experience of stress, and coping strategies used (Matud, 2004). Such differences need to be taken into consideration to design yoga programs based on the specific needs and preferences of each sex (Bluth et al., 2017).

Objectives

The first objective of the study was to understand whether CYI was effective in increasing the resilience of the CYI group as compared to the control group. The second objective was to investigate whether females were higher on resilience than males as a result of CYI.


  Methods Top


Participants

All participants were first-time migrants from Taluka places or smaller towns of Maharashtra who migrated to Pune city for education. They belonged to five administrative regions of Maharashtra, namely Khandesh, Marathwada, Konkan, Western Maharashtra, and Vidarbha. They were either in 11th Std or 1st year of graduation from various educational streams such as science, arts, and commerce. The age range was 16–18 years.

From 311 migrant students belonging to two hostels in Pune city, 150 students (75 from each hostel) were randomly selected. Students from hostel one underwent CYI and students from hostel two did not receive intervention at that time. 12 participants from CYI group dropped out due to reasons such as academic commitments and lack of interest. 8 students from the control group were unavailable for posttesting and hence were excluded from the study. Before the statistical analysis, outliers were detected using boxplots and were removed from both the groups. Finally, there were 62 (30 males, 32 females) and 63 (33 males, 30 females) participants in CYI and control groups, respectively, who were included in the final analysis. [Figure 1] shows the process of sample selection.
Figure 1: Flow diagram of sample selection process

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Separate demographic details of CYI group and control group are given in [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic details of the Classical Yoga Intervention (CYI) group and control group

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Instruments

Informed consent was obtained from students for participation in the study. Written permission and consent were also obtained from hostel authorities regarding the conductance of the project and participation from students. Participants also filled a demographic form that had their personal, educational, and family information.

Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale

Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) measures resilience as a stress coping ability and a collection of qualities which help a person thrive in the face of adversity. It has 25 items which are measured on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (not true at all) to 4 (true nearly all the time). The test gives a composite score of resilience ranging from 0 to 100, with higher score indicating higher resilience. Cronbach alpha and test–retest reliability of the scale are 0.89 and 0.87, respectively, showing high reliability. Significant positive and negative relationships were found between CD-RISC and Kobasa Hardiness Scale (Kobasa, 1979) and perceived stress scale (Cohen et al., 1983), respectively, indicating satisfactory validity (Connor & Davidson, 2003).

Procedure

Before starting the actual research project, a pilot training of CYI was conducted in a similar setting to understand students' responses, and other relevant issues. After pretesting, 75 students each from two hostels were randomly selected. Students from hostel one participated in CYI, whereas students from hostel two did not undergo intervention at that time (waitlisted). Equivalence between the two groups on pretest scores of resilience was checked using independent samples t-test. The intervention consisted of 40 sessions. After the intervention, posttesting was conducted for both the groups. Obtained data were checked for normality and outliers were removed. After excluding the dropouts and outliers, there were 62 participants (30 males, 32 females) in the CYI group and 63 (33 males, 30 females) participants in the control group. After posttesting, a similar intervention was conducted for the control group as well. Statistical analysis was done using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 28.

About the Classical Yoga Intervention (CYI)

The specific method of yoga practice used in CYI was originally developed by Dr. Samprasad Vinod, a doctor, and yogi based in Pune and it is being effectively used at Maharshi Vinod Research Foundation, Pune, for more than four decades. This method of yoga practice is called classical yoga. The word “classical” is used as the method is based on Patanjal Yoga Darshan, which is revered as one of the classical scriptures on yoga (Bhavnani, 2011; Vinod, 2016, 2019). It has meditation at its core and looks at yoga as going beyond physical exercise and as a comprehensive and transformative practice that can change one's approach toward life.

Forty sessions of CYI were conducted, with each session lasting for approximately 1 h 15 min. Sessions were conducted from Monday to Saturday. Separate sessions were conducted for males and females by a trained and experienced male and female instructor, respectively, along with the researcher. Sessions for males were conducted in the morning and sessions for females were conducted in the evening. Sessions included Shavasana meditation, simple bodily movements and asanas (physical postures) performed in a meditative state, Pranayama (breath regulation and expansion practices), and finally, Omkar. The detailed contents of CYI along with the general guidelines for yoga practice used in CYI are given in [Table 2] and [Table 3], respectively.
Table 2: Content of Classical Yoga Intervention (CYI)

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Table 3: Common guidelines/instructions regarding yoga practice given during conductance of Classical Yoga Intervention (CYI)

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Statistical analysis

In the present study, test time was a within-group, repeated measures variable with two levels – pretest and posttest. Sex (male and female) and group (CYI group and control group) were the two between-group variables, each with two levels. As there is one within-group variable and two between-group variables, this study has a mixed design. To understand the independent and interaction effects of within- and between-group variables, the use of mixed-design Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) is recommended (Field, 2009). Analysis was done using IBM SPSS statistics, version 28.


  Results Top


Preliminary analysis

Data were checked for normality. Levene's test of equality of error variances was nonsignificant, showing that variances were equal across pretest (F (3, 121) = 0.64, P = 0.588) and posttest (F (3, 121) =1.30, P = 0.277) scores of resilience. [Table 4] shows the descriptive statistics calculated for pre- and post-test scores of resilience for CYI group and control group and also separately for males and females within each group.
Table 4: Descriptive statistics for pretest and posttest scores on resilience of Classical Yoga Intervention group and control group and males and females within each group

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Establishing equivalence on pretest scores of resilience

Independent samples t-test showed that there was no significant difference between CYI group and control group on pretest scores of resilience, making them equivalent before the intervention was conducted (t (123) = 0.35, P = 0.73). Similarly, no significant difference was found between males and females within the CYI group (t (60) = 0.97, P = 0.338) and also between males and females of the control group (t (61) = 0.10, P = 0.919). Furthermore, no statistically significant differences were found between males from CYI group and control group (t (61) = 0.23, P = 0.816) and between females from CYI group and control group (t (60) = 0.72, P = 0.471). Hence, it could be said that both the groups along with male and female participants within each group were equivalent on pretest scores of resilience.

Main analysis

Mixed ANOVA was performed to understand independent and interactive effects of the within-group variable test time (pre- and posttest) and two between-group variables sex (males and females) and group (CYI group and control group).

Independent effects

[Table 5] shows that the independent effect of the within-group variable test time was significant (F (1, 121) = 27.69, P = < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.19) with large effect size. Hence, over time, there was a significant difference in resilience for the group as a whole. [Table 6] shows that the main effect of the between-group variable sex was not significant (F (1,121) = 0.37, P = 0.546), thus indicating that there was no statistically significant difference between male and female participants of the study on resilience. In addition, the independent effect of group was not statistically significant (F (1,121) = 1.56, P = 0.210) when test time and sex were not taken into consideration.
Table 5: Mixed ANOVA for the within-group variable test time (pre and post) and its interactions with sex (male, female) and group (Classical Yoga Intervention, control)

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Table 6: Mixed ANOVA for between-group variables sex (male, female) and group (Classical Yoga Intervention and control) and their interaction with each other

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Interaction effects

[Table 5] shows that the interaction between test time and sex was not significant (F (1,121) = 0.43, P = 0.514), meaning that from pre- to postintervention, there was no difference between males and females. Interaction between test time and group was significant (F (1,121) P =13.00, 0.001, ηp2 = 0.10) with medium effect size. This result meant that there was a significant difference in CYI group and control group from pre- to postintervention. To further understand the difference, independent t-test was conducted between CYI group and control group on posttest scores of resilience. Results showed that CYI group (Mean = 74.24, SD = 9.18) was significantly higher than the control group (Mean = 69.29, SD = 11.27) (t (123) = 2.69, P = 0.004, d = 0.48) with small effect size denoted by Cohen's d (Cohen, 2008). As shown in [Table 5], the interaction between test time, sex, and group was also significant (F (1,121) = 4.95, P = 0.028, ηp2 = 0.04) with small effect size. Further analyses were conducted using independent t tests to investigate the difference between males and females within CYI group on posttest scores of resilience. There was no significant difference found between males (Mean = 73.40, SD = 7.99) and females (Mean = 75.03, SD = 10.23) on posttest scores of resilience (t (60) = 0.70, P = 0.489). Then, comparisons were made between males from CYI group and control group and females from CYI and control group on posttest scores of resilience. There was a significant difference between females from the CYI group and control group (t (60) =0.753, P = 0.004, d = 0.70), with Cohen's d showing a medium effect size. Here, CYI group females (Mean = 75.03, SD = 10.23) were found to be significantly higher than control groups females (Mean = 67.87, SD = 10.25) on posttest scores of resilience, whereas no significant difference was found between males from the CYI group (Mean = 73.40, SD = 7.99) and control group (Mean = 70.58, SD = 12.13) (t (61) = 1.10, P = 0.138) on posttest scores of resilience. As there was no significant difference found between CYI group and control group males, paired t-tests were conducted separately for each group to understand the difference between pretest and posttest. It was revealed that for the CYI group, there was a significant increase in resilience from pre- to postintervention (t (29) =2.42, P = 0.011, d = 0.44) with a small effect size. Males in the control group as well showed a significant difference between pre- and posttest (t (32) =1.75, P = 0.044, d = 0.30). [Table 6] shows that the interaction between variables of sex and group was not significant (F (1,121) = 0.06, P = 0.802).


  Discussion Top


A significant interaction between test time and group and the subsequent independent t-test showed that CYI group improved significantly than the control group from pretest to posttest. Hence, the results indicate a potential positive effect of CYI to improve resilience. Some studies have shown that yoga can be effective for increasing resilience (Hartfiel et al., 2011; Jindani et al., 2015). Pausing and becoming aware of the moment-to-moment experience is an integral aspect of some meditative practices which can be generally labeled as open-awareness/monitoring (Davidson & Lutz, 2008). Refined sense of observation and awareness due to yoga can help a person from wallowing in a setback, thus having a positive impact on resilience (Davidson & Begley, 2012).

The present study shows that the interaction between test time (pre-, post-test), sex (males, females), and group (CYI group, control group) was significant. Independent t-tests showed that females from CYI group were significantly higher than females from control group on posttest scores of resilience. On the other hand, there was no significant difference between CYI and control group males. A possible reason for this result can be the gain in resilience from pretest to posttest shown by control group males. Some plausible reasons for it might be better adjustment and adaptation with the new environment over time or establishing new friendships during the period of 8 weeks from pretest to posttest. These factors might have helped control group males to cope with the challenge of migration better, thereby leading to improvement in resilience. Very similar results were found in a study in which female meditators improved significantly than control females, but equivalent gains were found for meditation group males and control males (Kang et al., 2018). In the current study, when comparisons were made between males and females within the CYI group on posttest scores of resilience, no significant difference was found. This result is in contrast with a study on college students in which females have shown higher improvements as a result of meditation-based training than males (De Vibe et al., 2013). Some reasons cited for such differences are variations in the attitude and receptivity toward yoga training, engagement with yoga intervention, and developmental differences to name a few (Bluth et al., 2017). In the present study, it was observed that both males and females from the CYI group considered the intervention as important because they both had freshly migrated to a big city for the first time. Experience of adjustment, assimilation-related stress, and academic pressures for both, males and females, might have led to a positive attitude toward Classical Yoga Intervention as a calming and helpful practice. Even though the results show that males and females from the CYI group were equivalent on posttest scores of resilience, observations made during CYI pointed toward some factors which contributed to enhancements in resilience for females. Females showed higher engagement and involvement throughout the intervention. They were also more vocal about the positive effects of CYI they experienced. They actively interacted with the yoga instructor and also with other participants. These social processes along with higher engagement might have played a role in leading to higher effects of CYI for them. On the other hand, male participants focused more on actual yoga practice and mostly looked at it as a solitary activity. Hence, it can be inferred that even though the practice of Classical Yoga was helpful for males and females, there were differences in which they experienced yoga.

Independent and interaction effects of the two between-group variables, namely sex (male, female) and group (CYI, control), were not significant. The findings also highlight the role of the within-group variable test time (pre and post). Thus, it can be inferred that it was only in the time from pretest to posttest that interactions between sex and group were significant, thus leading to higher increases in posttest scores for CYI group as a whole and also specifically for females from CYI group whose resilience score on posttest was higher than the control group females.

Limitations

Variables such as age, stream of education, and distance between place of origin and migrated city were not controlled. In addition, differences in timings of CYI and different instructors for males and females could have affected the results of the study as well.

Suggestions for future research

Yoga seems to be useful for both males and females, but specific preferences, emotion regulation strategies, and needs of each sex can be taken into consideration to design tailor-made yoga interventions. CYI can also be implemented in college hostels to facilitate the process of adaptation and assimilation of migrant students in the new environment.


  Conclusion Top


The current study demonstrated a significant interaction between test time and group, with the CYI group being higher on resilience than the control group pointing toward a positive effect of yoga. A significant interaction between test time, sex, and group was followed with t-tests which showed that within CYI group, both males and females benefited from CYI as there was no significant difference in their posttest scores on resilience. CYI group females were significantly higher than control group females as a result of intervention, whereas no such difference was found between CYI and control group males.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.







 
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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