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This study tested whether distress tolerance, body image, and body mass index (BMI) predicted adherence to a yoga intervention. Participants were 27 women who participated in a yoga intervention as part of a randomized controlled trial. Attendance and distress tolerance were assessed weekly, and body image and BMI were measured at baseline. Multilevel modeling revealed a three-way interaction of distress tolerance, BMI, and body image (p < .001). For participants with few body image concerns, distress tolerance was positively associated with adherence regardless of BMI (p = .009). However, for those with poor body image, increases in distress tolerance were associated with increases in adherence among overweight participants (p < .001) but lower adherence among obese participants (p = .007). Distress tolerance may be implicated in adherence to a yoga intervention, although its effects may be dependent on body image concerns, BMI, and their interaction. Research and clinical implications are discussed.
OBJECTIVE: Cortisol reactivity to stress is associated with affective eating, an important behavioral risk factor for obesity and related metabolic diseases. Yoga practice is related to decreases in stress and cortisol levels, thus emerging as a potential targeted complementary intervention for affective eating. This randomized controlled trial examined the efficacy of a heated, hatha yoga intervention for reducing cortisol reactivity to stress and affective eating. METHOD: Females (N = 52; ages 25-46 years; 75% White) at risk for obesity and related illnesses were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of Bikram Yoga practice or to waitlist control. Cortisol reactivity to a laboratory stress induction were measured at Weeks 0 (pretreatment) and 9 (posttreatment). Self-reported binge eating frequency and coping motives for eating were assessed at Weeks 0, 3, 6, and 9. RESULTS: Among participants with elevated cortisol reactivity at pretreatment ("high reactors"), those randomized to the yoga condition evidenced greater pre- to posttreatment reductions in cortisol reactivity (p = .042, d = .85), but there were not significant condition differences for the "low reactors" (p = .178, d = .53). Yoga participants reported greater decreases in binge eating frequency (p = .040, d = .62) and eating to cope with negative affect (p = .038, d = .54). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary support for the efficacy of heated hatha yoga for treating physiological stress reactivity and affective eating among women at risk for obesity-related illnesses. (PsycINFO Database Record