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Enhancing Access to Yoga for Older Male Veterans After Cancer: Examining Beliefs About Yoga.

Auguste EJ, Weiskittle RE, Sohl SJ, Danhauer SC, Doherty K, Naik AD, Moye J. Enhancing Access to Yoga for Older Male Veterans After Cancer: Examining Beliefs About Yoga. Federal practitioner : for the health care professionals of the VA, DoD, and PHS. 2021 Oct 1; 38(10):450-458.

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Background: Yoga is an effective clinical intervention for cancer survivors. Most studies of the positive effects of yoga on cancer patients report on predominantly middle-aged women with breast cancer. Less is known about the use of yoga in older adults, veterans, and those from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds. Methods: We examined strategies to enhance access to yoga in older veterans after cancer, focusing on education (study 1) and intervention (study 2). Study 1 included 110 participants with a median (SD) age of 64.9 (9.4) years who were mostly male (99%) cancer survivors who were interviewed 12 months after their cancer diagnosis. Study 2 included 28 participants with a median (SD) age of 69.2 (10.9) years who were mostly male (96%) cancer survivors who participated in a yoga program within 3 years of their cancer diagnosis. Standardized interviews assessed interest in and barriers to yoga while self-reporting assessed health-related quality of life and beliefs about yoga. Results: In study 1, interest in yoga increased from 5.5 to 31.8% ( = 22.25, < .001) following education. In open-ended questions 4 themes related to negative beliefs or barriers emerged: lack of knowledge or skepticism, disinterest or dislike, physical health barriers, and logistical barriers. In study 2, beliefs were more positive following intervention for expected benefits ( = 4.44, < .001), discomfort ( = 4.92, < .001), and social norms ( = 4.38, < .001) related to yoga. Physical function improved after participation in a yoga class, especially for those with higher beliefs in yoga prior to class. Age was not associated with beliefs about yoga in either sample. Conclusions: A portion of older veterans who are cancer survivors were interested in yoga but faced access barriers. Implications for practice and research include increasing knowledge about yoga benefits and addressing physical health and logistical barriers to enhance access to yoga for older veterans.

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