Date of Award

December 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Joshua Felver


experiential avoidance, kripalu yoga, mindfulness, psychological distress, substance use, yoga

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The current study sought to examine the utility of yoga for reducing experiential avoidance (EA), as well as symptoms of psychological distress (SPD) and substance use. EA refers to the attempt to avoid or control adverse bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings, and memories despite negative consequences. Yoga is a holistic system of mind-body practices which includes physical postures, stretching, and breathing exercises aimed at maintaining and improving both mental and physical health. Undergraduates (n = 43) from a yoga class and basic exercise classes were recruited to participate and served as the intervention and active control group, respectively. Self-reported measures of EA, SPD (i.e., anxiety, depression), and substance use were collected at pre- and post-intervention time points. It was hypothesized that EA levels would be reduced from Time 1 to Time 2 in students participating in the yoga intervention compared to the control group, and that reductions in EA would mediate the relation between condition assignment and reductions in SPD and reported substance use. Overall, our hypotheses were not supported. Furthermore, our findings indicated Group differences in EA scores at Time 1.


Open Access



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