A scoping review of yoga and emotional-social intelligence in children and youth
De Oliveira, Natasha
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Background and objective: A globalized world manifests new opportunities as well as new challenges. Our modern world identifies the need for contemporary citizens to Transform, Adapt, Cope and Develop (TACD) with the flow of modernity. Emotional and social competencies, resources and skills are required in the form of Emotional-Social Intelligence (ESI) to improve Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Thus, becoming proficient in ESI abilities will equip young people with a greater capacity to TACD. Even though the practice of Yoga is associated with various ESI domains, such literature remains scattered across academic disciplines and sub-disciplines. Although connections are evident, there is a lack of direct focus on the potential relationship between Yoga and ESI, towards enhancing EQ. For this reason, results from the Yoga literature are often not contextualized according to the constructs of ESI and EQ. In response to this gap, a scoping review aimed to bring greater coherence to the isolated and scattered literature and to piece together the research that pertains to children, youth, Yoga as well as ESI and EQ as conceptualised in Bar-On’s (2006) model. It is hoped that this will initiate the process towards literature integration, as well as identification of gaps in existing knowledge and promising avenues for future research. Methods: A scoping review was considered a well-suited methodology for this study owing to the vast expanse of literature on the topic. For this purpose, the scoping review methodology of Arksey and O’Malley (2005) was specifically used. Articles on the topic were searched for within two electronic databases (Web of Science and Scopus). Articles were included based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria with those that were written in the English language and published from the year 1995 included in the study. Along these lines, articles were included if they mentioned one or more of the ESI dimensions, in the context of Yoga, within a population of children or youth. These articles were then thematically analysed, with the data from these include studies then charted. After numerous stages of extraction with the selected databases (Web of Science and Scopus), 24 articles were eventually included in the study. From the included articles, a thematic analysis was conducted to identify the ESI themes and subthemes that were associated with Yoga. Additionally, data was grouped and charted according to the ESI themes and subthemes, publication year, average age, grade, sample size, race, gender, condition, school level, setting, country, facility type, Yoga style, methodology, results, duration, sessions, core techniques and well-being domain. Results: From the thematic analysis the main themes that were extracted and charted were the intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress management and general mood, together with the minor subthemes of impulse control, stress tolerance, interpersonal relations, self-awareness, self-regard, independence, optimism and happiness. More specifically, from the extracted main themes, positive correlations were found between Yoga and the intrapersonal, stress management and general mood major themes, and the minor subthemes of impulse control, self-regard, self-awareness, stress tolerance, interpersonal relations and happiness. Results from the data charting revealed that there has been an increase in publications from 2010, with the bulk of these articles published between 2013-2018. As far as the study samples were concerned, the data charting revealed that typical studies reporting on Yoga interventions made use of sample sizes under one hundred, with research participants that were predominantly Caucasian, around eleven years of age on average, with no presenting condition and from a variety of grades, genders as well as schooling levels. These Yoga interventions were administered primarily in school settings over a period of less than a year and were predominantly centred on the Hatha style of Yoga, and mainly made use of breath and posture as techniques. Additionally, the incorporated literature stemmed mainly from the West (namely the USA) and made equal use of quantitative as well as mixed method research designs. Finally, the data charting revealed that Yoga interventions not only correlated with dimensions of ESI and EQ, but also with increased well-being. Conclusions: To begin with, the literature that connected Yoga to the main and minor ESI themes of Bar-On’s (2006) model was extensively spread across a variety of disciplines. The scoping review, which served to analyse and synthesise this literature, charted themes and valuable data that highlight the connections, gaps and trends that could further guide more focused, future studies. The results from this scoping review ultimately reveal that Yoga holds promise as an intervention that enhances ESI among children and youth, and that Yoga possesses latent potential in developing these ESI skills and subskills within a variety of cultural contexts as well with diverse age, gender, grade and racial groups. The scoping review ultimately pieces together the existing knowledge of Yoga and ESI in children and youth, in aim of further investigating Yoga-based SEL programs that develop ESI competencies to enhance EQ and PYD.
- Health Sciences