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VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: The Returning Veteran | Table of Contents: Winter 2018 | Download this issue

New & Ongoing Studies

Trauma-sensitive yoga for female Veterans with PTSD who experienced military sexual trauma


Investigator: Ursula Ann Kelly, PhD. Funding period: February 2016–January 2020.

 Research suggests that yoga can benefit women Veterans with PTSD who have been sexually assaulted while in the military. <em>(Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/Alvarez)</em>>
Research suggests that yoga can benefit women Veterans with PTSD who have been sexually assaulted while in the military. (Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/Alvarez)

Research suggests that yoga can benefit women Veterans with PTSD who have been sexually assaulted while in the military. (Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/Alvarez)

A research team at the Atlanta VA Medical Center aims to find out if yoga can help with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in women Veterans. Dr. Ursula Kelly has started a clinical trial to study the benefits of yoga for Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma and who also have PTSD.

Researchers will recruit women Veterans who are seeking treatment for PTSD related to military sexual trauma and who have chronic pain and trouble sleeping. They aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a trauma-sensitive yoga program compared to traditional CPT therapy in reducing Veterans' symptoms. They will also seek to find out if yoga is better than CPT at improving Veterans' quality of life and social functioning. Finally, they will examine the effect of yoga on the body's response to stress and the hyper-reactivity that is typical of PTSD.

VA estimates that 21 to 40 percent of women Veterans who seek care at a VA health care facility have experienced military sexual trauma. Researchers say military sexual trauma is the most common cause of PTSD in women Veterans.


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