|Year : 2012 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 98-103
Psychological benefits of yoga in industrial workers
Pookala Shivaram Bhat1, Vishal Chopra2, Sureskkumar Ghisulal Mehta3, Kalpana Srivastava1, Shashi R Kumar1, Jyoti Prakash1
1 Department of Psychiatry, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India
2 Graded Specialist (Psychiatry), Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Padmashree D Y Patil Medical College, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||9-Oct-2013|
Pookala Shivaram Bhat
Department of Psychiatry, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 010, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
| Abstract|| |
Background: The industrial workers are exposed to stress and strain due to the tough nature of their duties. There is a need to incorporate simple, cost effective, and easily implementable measures in the industries to tackle this menace of stress. Yoga has been considered a suitable candidate for this job. Hence this study was undertaken to evaluate the psychological benefits of yoga in workers. Materials and Methods: Four hundred healthy young general duty workers were enrolled for this study and made into four matched groups of 100 each. One group was given regular Yoga practice in the morning, another group was given regular physical training in the morning, third group was exposed to regular physical training in the morning and Yoga in the evening, and the last group was exposed to neither of them. All were assessed for their psychological state at base line, 4 weeks and at 12 weeks using specified scales. The findings were statistically analysed. Results: Yoga was found to have more beneficial psychological effect comparable to physical training. However maximum benefit was obtained when Yoga was combined with PT. Conclusion: Yoga has got positive psychological benefits in general duty workers when practiced regularly. The benefits are enhanced when Yoga is combined with PT.
Keywords: Physical training, psychological benefits, yoga
|How to cite this article:|
Bhat PS, Chopra V, Mehta SG, Srivastava K, Kumar SR, Prakash J. Psychological benefits of yoga in industrial workers. Ind Psychiatry J 2012;21:98-103
There is significant amount of stress and strain in attending to the regular duties by the workers in industrial setup. Lately due to the increasing incidences of stress related disorders resulting in workers unrest, there is a need to go deeply into their mental status and the related problems among them to evolve suitable preventive measures. Given the exigencies of duties and long separation from family members, the mental health may tend to deteriorate, mainly of those personnel who are at the lower rung of authority and entrusted with most of the ground level duties.
Yoga provides considerable relief in a number of chronic physical, psychological, and psychosomatic diseases. Studies have shown that Yoga has significant effects on positive mental health.  It has been shown to be useful not only in treating psychiatric disorders, but also improves cognitive functions in normal individuals. , Further it has positive effects on blood glucose, cholesterol, and lipids. , Recently it has been shown to have beneficial effects as an add-on treatment in the management of patients with schizophrenia in a randomized controlled trial. 
Since Yoga is a wholesome science and art-related discipline, which not only deals with physical exercises but also has a spiritual and mental dimension, it can be extensively used in all climatic conditions to bring about an ideal positive mental makeup. More importantly, including Yoga in the daily routine is easy due to its acceptance. Although the workers undergo the time tested physical training (PT), there is a need to study whether inclusion of Yoga has any further beneficial effects. Hence, this study was undertaken as a pilot project to find the psychological benefits of Yoga in industrial workers.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The study was conducted in a large industrial setup. The workers from all the subunits were taken up for study to ensure continuous availability, homogeneity, and better administrative control. A total of 400 general duty workers in the age group between 20 and 30 years were included by randomized method of sampling from the attendance roll.
The inclusion criteria were education up to at least X standard and willingness to participate in the study and being in fit medical category. Personnel with past history of any significant medical/psychiatric illnesses were excluded. All underwent a routine medical checkup in the unit Medical Inspection Room before the study. A base line investigation including hemoglobin (Hb)%, total leukocyte count (TLC), differential leukocyte count (DLC), random blood sugar, and serum cholesterol and lipids was also done. A total of 400 workers were taken up for the project and divided into four groups of 100 each after matching for age, length of service, education, religion, and marital status. An informed consent was taken from all the participants.
One group of 100 workers was given Yoga training 5 days a week in the morning for 45 min consisting of Asanas, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques. Yoga was taught by Yoga teachers trained from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA) of Bangalore. Another group of 100 workers was given PT 5 days a week in the morning that included warming up, stretching up, and cooling down exercises by the trained instructors. The third group of 100 workers was given PT in the morning and Yoga training in the evening for 5 days a week. The fourth and the last group of 100 workers were not exposed to Yoga or PT for the study duration. Care was taken to prevent crossover of the study subjects from one group to another during the entire period of 3 months of the study.
They were assessed for the state of psychological well-being at base line, at 4 weeks, and at the end of 12 weeks of the study using General Health Questionnaire-30 items (GHQ-30),  Psychological General Well-being Schedule,  Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS),  Perceived Stress Scale (PSS),  and World Health Organization (WHO) (Ten) Well-being Index.  The data were analyzed using the statistical analysis software PEPI. The statistical significance was assessed by t-test and z-test.
| Results|| |
Mean age of participants was between 25 and 30 years. Social variables like marital status, rural-urban domicile, and education status were comparable between the groups. There were some dropouts in the study due to various domestic and organizational commitments by the workers. At baseline, 4 weeks, and at 12 weeks, respectively the participants in the four groups were PT (100, 90, 84), Yoga (100, 92, 86), PT and Yoga (100, 85, 80), and control (100, 95, 88) groups.
The mean scores of GHQ-30 at baseline in PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga groups were 9.6 (SD = 0.3), 9.5 (SD = 0.2), and 9.7 (SD = 0.2), respectively. They had come down to 8.8 (SD = 0.2), 8.6 (SD = 0.2), and 8.7 (SD = 0.4), respectively by the end of study. The reduction was pronounced in all the three groups compared to controls. In the PT group, the improvement was significant only in the later part of the study, that is, between 4 and 12 weeks. But in the Yoga and PT and Yoga groups, the improvement was seen at both levels, that is, 4 and 12 weeks. There was no significant change in the control group during the study period. When a comparison of proportion of people outside the cutoff score of five in GHQ over the study period was made, there was no significant change in the PT and control groups event at 12 weeks [Table 1]. But in the Yoga group, by the end of 12 weeks, a significant percentage of people had come below the cutoff score (from 33 to 17.44%). In the PT and Yoga group, the change from baseline (31%) was significant at both 4 weeks (23.53%) as well as at 12 weeks (16.25%).
|Table 1: Comparison of change in proportion of people outside the cutoff scores of GHQ (≥5) during|
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In the Psychological Well-being Schedule, the mean score at baseline in PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga group were 56.4 (SD = 6.5), 55.8 (SD = 7.1), and 57.4 (SD = 7.4), respectively [Table 2]. They had increased to 62.5 (SD = 7.3), 63.7 (SD = 6.8), and 76.6 (SD = 6.6), respectively by the end of 12 weeks. The improvement in PT and Yoga group was more pronounced. In the PT group, the improvement was not significant by 4 weeks, but was significant by the end of study period. But in the Yoga and PT and Yoga groups, the improvement was significant as early as 4 weeks, and remained so by 12 weeks. There was no significant change in score in the control group at both 4 and 12 weeks period.
|Table 2: Psychological general well‑being schedule scores in all the groups|
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With the HADS score for anxiety the PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga groups had scores of 12.6 (SD = 3.6), 12.9 (SD = 3.4), and 12.4 (SD = 3.2), respectively at baseline. There was gradual decline in score in all the groups over the study period. However, the reduction was not significant in the PT group. In the Yoga and PT and Yoga groups, it was not significant at 4 weeks but became significant by 12 weeks. In the control group there was no significant change. When a comparison of proportion of people outside the cutoff score (≥11) in HADS-anxiety over the study period was made, there was a gradual a reduction in percentage of people outside the cutoff score during the study period in PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga groups [Table 3]. However, the change was not at significant level in any of the groups.
|Table 3: Comparison of change in proportion of people outside the cutoff scores of HADS anxiety (≥11) during study period|
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In the depression subscore of HADS; the PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga groups had scores of 13.6 (SD = 3.2), 13.5 (SD = 3.1), and 13.5 (SD = 2.9), respectively at baseline. All had reduction in the scores over the study period. The reduction was not significant in the PT and Yoga groups even at 12 weeks, but was significant at 12 weeks with PT and Yoga groups. The control group did not have significant change. When the comparison of proportion of people outside the cutoff score (≥11) in HADS-Depression over the study period was made, there was a gradual a reduction in percentage of people outside the cut of score during the study period in PT, Yoga and PT, and Yoga groups [Table 4]. However, the change was not at significant level in any of the groups.
|Table 4: Comparison of change in proportion of people outside the cutoff scores of HADS depression (≥11) during study period|
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In the PSS at baseline; the PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga groups had a score of 16.4 (SD = 2.8), 16.6 (SD = 2.9), and 16.8 (SD = 3.3), respectively. They came down in all the groups during the study period. In the PT group, the reduction was significant at 4 weeks and at 12 weeks when compared to score at base line. But the reduction from 4 to 12 weeks was not significant, indicating that the maximum benefit was in the early period. But with the Yoga and PT and Yoga groups, the reduction remained significant at both levels. There was no significant change in the control group. When the comparison of proportion of people outside the cutoff score (>13) in PSS over the study period was made, there was gradual reduction in percentage of people outside the cut of score in all the three experimental groups [Table 5]. Also it was of significant levels in Yoga and PT and Yoga groups by the end of 12 weeks of the study.
In the WHO Well-being Index Scale at baseline, the scores were 21 (SD = 3.1), 22 (SD = 2.9), and 20 (SD = 2.8) for PT, Yoga, and PT and Yoga groups, respectively [Table 6]. There was improvement in the score in all the three groups during the study period. In these groups, the improvement was significant and gradual at both levels, that is, 4 and 12 weeks. PT and Yoga group had the maximum increase of 6 points from 20 to 26 by 12 weeks. In the control group there was no significant change even at 12 weeks.
|Table 5: Comparison of change in proportion of people outside the cutoff of PSS scores (>13) during|
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| Discussion|| |
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the psychological benefits of Yoga in industrial workers. Yazdi et al.,  had noted improvement in GHQ sores with a 12 week meditation course for the participants. In this study also, Yoga brought down the GHQ scores significantly even at 4 weeks and then at 12 weeks. PT also brought about the improvement at 12 weeks but not at 4 weeks. But when PT was combined with Yoga, there was significant reduction in the scores at 4 and 12 weeks. Number of people above the cutoff score also came down significantly with Yoga practice by 12 weeks. It is interesting to note that this improvement was significant even at 4 weeks when a combination of Yoga and PT was practiced.
There was improvement in Psychological General Well-being Schedule Score with PT, Yoga and when they are combined. Preeti et al.,  had noted significant improvement of Psychological Well-being Score using Psychological Well-being Questionnaire with stress reduction program even at the end of 1 week of intervention. But in our study though the improvement was noted by 4 weeks, it was not significant in the PT group. Maximum improvement was seen in PT and Yoga combined group (from 57.4 to 71.8) compared to PT (56.4 to 58.3) and Yoga alone (from 55.8 to 59.3). By 12 weeks all the experimental groups had significant improvement, but still the maximum benefit was seen in the combined group.
Usefulness of Yoga in reducing the anxiety has been well-documented by many studies. ,,,,, Yoga based deep relaxation techniques have been found to be effective in reduced state of anxiety immediately,  and Yoga has even been specially recommended for anxiety neurosis, exam fear, etc.  In this study, a gradual decline in the anxiety score of HADS was noted in all the experimental groups. But the reduction was not significant in the PT group. In the Yoga and PT and Yoga combined groups also the reduction was significant at 12 weeks only. Yoga has also been found to be useful in lifting the mood and alleviating the depression by various studies. ,,, In this study also, similar findings were noted.
The stress in life is mostly determined by the way we perceive the significant events of life. Mindfulness based stress reduction programs have been found to reduce the perceived stress level.  In our study, though the PSS score came down with PT initially by 4 weeks, thereafter it did not decrease significantly. But with Yoga alone and when combined with PT, the reduction in PSS score was significant throughout the study period.
Various studies on Yoga have showed its usefulness to increase self-esteem,  psychological profile,  and positive mental health. , Even a short course of 10 week Yoga practice has been found to improve self-perception of well-being.  It has also been found to improve reaction time  and general attentional abilities.  Even the change in personality profile to the good has been noted with 8 weeks of Yoga training.  In this study, the scores of WHO Well-being Index showed gradual improvement in all the three groups and remained so by 12 weeks. However, maximum improvement was again seen when Yoga was combined with PT.
This study of exposing industrial workers to planned Yoga practice over a period of 12 weeks has shown that it is beneficial. There has been a significant improvement in the general well-being of the participants, improvement in the depression and anxiety, as well as reduction in the perceived stress. As a group there has been a significant improvement in the mean scores of various assessment tools used. Also the proportion of people with scores outside the cutoff scores had come down by the end of the study.
During the study, the PT group had shown improvement in various scales almost comparable to Yoga group. But when PT session in the morning was combined with Yoga sessions in the evening, the beneficial effects were much more. Hence, it is prudent to consider including the short sessions of Yoga along with PT to workers.
However, there have been few shortcomings in the study that need to be looked into before any generalizations can be made. Firstly, the duration of the study was short. Though measurable improvements with a 12 week Yoga practice were noted, it will be worthwhile to have long duration prospective studies to see the impact and retention of benefits. Secondly, the third group was given physical exercise in morning and Yoga in the evening because of lack of time available to provide both in the morning due to commitments of duty. Also only male workers were enrolled for the study due to organizational constraints.
This study has highlighted a fact that combination of Yoga and PT yields better results. So there will be a need to integrate Yoga practice into the PT curriculum daily or at least on few days of the week for the workers.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]