257678 Waiting to exhale: A pilot study of yoga class participation in vulnerable cancer patients

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jodi Brown, MSW, PhD , Department of Social Work, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA
Previous research shows that yoga is associated with improvements in the overall quality of life of cancer patients (Banasik et al, 2011; Danhauer et al, 2009) including improved emotional well-being and physical outcomes such as sleep quality, mood, and stress (Bower et al, 2005). Increasingly studies are examining the effects of yoga with multicultural cancer populations (e.g. Moadel et al, 2007), but none explore the effects of yoga on cancer patients while they wait for treatment. In an on-going program, cancer patients are invited to participate in bilingual, gentle-chair yoga classes near the outpatient clinic waiting room at a large, suburban, County Hospital. Previous program evaluation results (n=53) with non-standardized measures show no significant effect of attendance on outcomes or skills learned, but 94% of respondents reported feeling more relaxed and 98% were very satisfied with their experience. Using a convenience sample of patients awaiting cancer treatment (n=26), this study seeks to describe differences between yoga class participants and non-participants by surveying non-participant's assessment of functioning to compare between groups. As expected, more women than men attended class. However, results of a Mann-Whitney U test revealed no significant difference in FACT-G scores (quality of life) between yoga class participants (Md=63.91, n=12) and non-participants (Md=65.01, n=12), U=67.50, z=-.26, p=.79, r=-.05. Personal interviews point to unfamiliarity with yoga and waiting room culture as possible reasons cancer patients decide against participation. Further research is needed to determine why some patients choose to participate in yoga classes and others do not.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Implement a yoga program for low-income cancer patients 2. Evaluate reasons attendees choose to participate in a yoga program 3. Discuss potential pitfalls to implementing on-site yoga for cancer patients.

Keywords: Vulnerable Populations, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I spent the last five years as the Program Director for the agency conducting the research and I have been the principal of funded grants. My research interests include access to care, cancer treatment, organizational development, and program evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Team Survivor California Program Director Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.