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We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing a prenatal yoga intervention to perinatal-focused health education in pregnant women with depression. Findings document acceptability and feasibility of the yoga intervention: no yoga-related injuries were observed, instructors showed fidelity to the yoga manual, and women rated interventions as acceptable. Although improvements in depression were not statistically different between groups, they favored yoga. This study provides support for a larger scale RCT examining prenatal yoga to improve mood during pregnancy.
BACKGROUND: Hatha yoga may be helpful for alleviating depression symptoms. The purpose of this analysis is to determine whether treatment program preference, credibility, or expectancy predict engagement in depression interventions (yoga or a control class) or depression symptom severity over time. METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of hatha yoga vs. a health education control group for treatment of depression. Depressed participants (n=122) attended up to 20 classes over a period of 10 weeks, and then completed additional assessments after 3 and 6 months. We assessed treatment preference prior to randomization, and treatment credibility and expectancy after participants attended their first class. Treatment "concordance" indicated that treatment preference matched assigned treatment. RESULTS: Treatment credibility, expectancy, and concordance were not associated with treatment engagement. Treatment expectancy moderated the association between treatment group and depression. Depression severity over time differed by expectancy level for the yoga group but not for the health education group. Controlling for baseline depression, participants in the yoga group with an average or high expectancy for improvement showed lower depression symptoms across the acute intervention and follow-up period than those with a low expectancy for improvement. There was a trend for a similar pattern for credibility. Concordance was not associated with treatment outcome. LIMITATIONS: This is a secondary, post-hoc analysis and should be considered hypothesis-generating. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that expectancy improves the likelihood of success only for a intervention thought to actively target depression (yoga) and not a control intervention.