Effect of yoga therapy on facial emotion recognition deficits, symptoms and functioning in patients with schizophrenia

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011 Feb;123(2):147-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01605.x. Epub 2010 Sep 16.


Objective: Facial emotion recognition deficits have been consistently demonstrated in schizophrenia and can impair socio-occupational functioning in these patients. Treatments to improve these deficits in antipsychotic-stabilized patients have not been well studied. Yoga therapy has been described to improve functioning in various domains in schizophrenia; however, its effect on FERD is not known.

Method: Antipsychotic-stabilized patients randomized to receive Yoga (n=27), Exercise (n=17) or Waitlist group (n=22) were assessed at baseline, 2nd month, and 4th month of follow-up by raters blind to group status. Assessments included Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Socio-Occupational Functioning Scale (SOFS), and Tool for Recognition of Emotions in Neuropsychiatric DisorderS (TRENDS).

Results: There was a significant positive correlation between baseline FERD and socio-occupational functioning (r=0.3, P=0.01). Paired samples t test showed significant improvement in positive and negative symptoms, socio-occupational functioning and performance on TRENDS (P<0.05) in the Yoga group, but not in the other two groups. Maximum improvement occurred at the end of 2 months, and improvement in positive and negative symptoms persisted at the end of 4 months.

Conclusion: Yoga therapy can be a useful add-on treatment to improve psychopathology, FERD, and socio-occupational functioning in antipsychotic-stabilized patients with schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotional Intelligence*
  • Facial Expression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga* / psychology