Yoga and self-esteem : exploring change in middle-aged women
Junkin, Sarah Elizabeth
Of the numerous psychological constructs self-esteem is the most known. It is well documented that having high levels of self-esteem is associated with positive health implications. Self-esteem is theorized as a global and stable construct impacted by both academic and non-academic domains. The physical domain compartmentalized within the non-academic domain, is used to look at self-esteem related to physical self-perceptions. In the physical domain, the Exercise and Self-Esteem Model (EXSEM) (Sonstroem & Morgan, 1989) was developed to measure changes in self-esteem, physical competence, physical acceptance, and self-efficacy across an exercise intervention. Fox (2000b) suggested that middle-age marks a time where positive changes to self-esteem are possible. For women, middle-age can be accompanied by several challenges including a physical body that moves further from society’s ideal (i.e., young, beautiful, and thin). Hatha yoga is an exercise practice that has become popular in North America in recent years, especially with middle-aged adults, and may represent an ideal activity to be used within the EXSEM as it emphasizes both physical competence and acceptance. The purpose of the study was to utilize the EXSEM as a framework to examine self-esteem, physical competence, physical acceptance, and yoga self-efficacy constructs for middle-aged women participating in a 12-week Hatha yoga intervention. An additional exploratory objective of the study was to examine potential changes in mindfulness consisting of observing, describing, acting with awareness, and accepting without judgement for middle-aged women participating in a 12-week Hatha yoga intervention. Participants in the study were 51 women (M age 49.3  6.1; yoga group, n = 21; control group, n = 30) of predominantly White ethnicity (92%). Descriptive information about the sample via a demographics form and an Eastern philosophy familiarity open-ended question, and the following measures, Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ; Godin, & Shephard, 1985), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965), Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP; Fox & Corbin, 1989), Body Esteem Scale (BES; Franzoi, & Shields, 1984), Body Image Visual Analog Scale (BIVAS), Yoga Self-Efficacy Scale (YSES), and the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS; Baer, Smith, & Allen, 2004) were collected at pre-test and post-test (YSES was administered an additional time for the yoga group only). Doubly multivariate analyses using SPSS (version 14.0) examined four statistical models to answer research questions and help negotiate several dependent variables in the research design. Model 1 looked at higher order constructs in the EXSEM (i.e., RSES, physical self-worth subscale of the PSPP, BES, BIVAS, and YSES). Model 2 was identical to model 1 with the exception of including lower order domain items for physical competence (i.e., PSPP subscales of sport competence, physical strength, physical condition, attractive body). Model 3 looked at subscales of YSES (i.e., standing poses, forward bends, back bends, twists, and seated/supine poses), whereas model 4 examined subscales of KIMS only (i.e., observe, describe, act with awareness, accept without judgement). Following the doubly multivariate analysis, PSPP subscales showed significant group by time interactions; follow-up univariate tests, p < .05, showed significance on PSW F(1, 49) = 12.22, conditioning subscale of PSPP F(1, 49) = 10.65, strength subscale on PSPP F(1, 49) = 13.11, BIVAS F(1, 49) = 6.45, YSE total score F(1, 49) = 9.84, and YSE subscales of forward bends F(1, 49) = 17.84, twists F(1, 49) = 8.18, and seated/supine poses F(1, 49) = 6.21, and observation subscale of KIMS F(1, 49) = 12.16, p < .05. In all cases, the yoga group improved more over time than the control group.General support for the use of the EXSEM for middle-aged women participating in Hatha yoga over 12-weeks was noted with changes in yoga self-efficacy for total score, twists, forward bends, and seated/supine poses; physical competence of physical self-worth, body conditioning, and physical strength; and physical acceptance (BIVAS). A major finding was that no overall change in self-esteem was found with a sample whose means for self-esteem were similar to previous research with middle-aged women. Similarly, partial support for mindfulness with changes in observing following the 12-week Hatha yoga intervention was found. Future research should focus on further developing appropriate measurement of physical acceptance; the appropriateness of EXSEM for examining Hatha yoga should be considered; qualitative methods should be used to gain additional insight into the process of Hatha yoga participation for middle-aged women.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentCollege of Kinesiology
ProgramCollege of Kinesiology
CommitteeSpink, Kevin S.; Morrison, Melanie A.; Faulkner, Robert A.