Exploring the physical and psychosocial benefits of yoga for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities


  • Brandi M. Crowe, PhD, LRT/CTRS
  • Claire K. Allison, MS, LRT/CTRS
  • Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT
  • Em V. Adams, MS, CTRS
  • Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR, FAOTA




yoga, intellectual and developmental disability, physical functioning, psychosocial wellbeing, recreational therapy


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) often experience negative physical and psychosocial health outcomes that may result in lower levels of engagement in physical activity and decreased quality of life. Physical activity, such as yoga, may improve physical functioning and psychosocial wellbeing among individuals with IDD. There is a lack of published research that evaluates outcomes of yoga participation for individuals with IDD. Thus, the purpose of this multimethod study was to explore the influence of yoga participation on the physical functioning and psychosocial wellbeing of adults with IDD. Eleven adults with IDD engaged in 12, 60-minute yoga sessions for 7 weeks. Results indicated significant improvements in participants’ lower body strength and endurance, and their interest and enjoyment as motivation for participating in physical activity. Findings suggest that yoga has the potential to improve physical functioning and psychosocial wellbeing among adults with IDD. Recommendations for future research are included.

Author Biographies

Brandi M. Crowe, PhD, LRT/CTRS

Assistant Professor, Recreational Therapy, Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Claire K. Allison, MS, LRT/CTRS

Graduate Student, Applied Health Research and Evaluation, Department of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT

Distinguished Professor and Recreational Therapy Coordinator, Recreational Therapy, Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Em V. Adams, MS, CTRS

Instructor, Recreational Therapy, Department of Health Sciences, LehmanCollege, Bronx, New York

Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy, Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado


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How to Cite

Crowe, PhD, LRT/CTRS, B. M., Allison, MS, LRT/CTRS, C. K., Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT, M., Adams, MS, CTRS, E. V., & Schmid, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, A. A. (2019). Exploring the physical and psychosocial benefits of yoga for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 18(4), 38–48. https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2019.0201




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