All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Robin G Lanzi

Advisory Committee Members

Olivia Affuso

Shauntice Allen

Susan Davies

Kathryn Kaiser

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health

Abstract

Adolescence is a unique developmental stage during which physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes occur simultaneously and the traumatic effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can be particularly salient for the emotional and cognitive development of adolescents as they navigate and adjust to the social environment (Blakemore & Mills, 2014). Seventy-seven percent of Black adolescents have unmet mental health needs, and only 13% of those adolescents receive services compared to 31% of White adolescents. Meeting mental health needs of Black adolescents is imperative as their mental health needs continue to grow and resources become increasingly scarce. Innovative, culturally acceptable, accessible programs are critically needed. A one-year yoga and meditation program was implemented in a public housing community in Birmingham, AL. Forty-eight adolescents were consented. Data collection included the self-administration of the Revised Children Anxiety and Depression (RCAD) questionnaire and the Perceived Stress Scale-Children (PSSC) questionnaire, adolescents journaling after each class session, gender-based focus groups, staff open-ended questionnaires, and researcher field notes. There were no significant improvements found in the pre- and post- test scores on the RACD or PSS-C. Journal themes included: 1) Relaxation and Peace, 2) Happiness, and 3) Enjoyment. Building on this, focus groups themes included: 1) Relaxation and Peace, 2) Positive Coping Strategies (including improving mood, positive thinking and empowerment), and 3) Exercise. Staff members shared that even though there were barriers to implementing the program, there were many benefits to the program, and they felt it could be sustainable. Being embedded within a community center supported a keen understanding of the importance of utilizing a CBPR approach. The study is one of the first ever to implement a yoga and meditation program using a CBPR approach with Black adolescent living in a public housing community. The findings point to the potential major impact that it can have on the lives of adolescents and those in the community program.

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