Gender and Ethnicity: Are they Associated with Differential Outcomes of a Biopsychosocial Social-Emotional Learning Program?

Int J Yoga. 2020 Jan-Apr;13(1):18-24. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_85_18.


Context: Social-emotional learning (SEL) program outcomes may be enhanced when programs take into account gender and ethnicity differences, yet few studies directly examine these variables. The limited literature further suggests improved outcomes accrue by integrating physiological techniques, such as yoga and meditation, directly into SEL curricula to reduce stress.

Aims: This study investigated the association between outcomes of a yogic breath-based biopsychosocial SEL intervention across gender and ethnicity.

Methods: Fifty-nine high school students were evaluated on 4 positive (self-esteem, identity formation, anger coping ability, planning, and concentration) and 3 negative SEL outcomes (impulsivity, distractibility, and endorsement of aggression). Using a repeated-measures design, group differences between gender and ethnicity were assessed.

Results and conclusions: Significant improvements on all 7 outcomes were found for the sample, suggesting that participants performed better after the intervention. There were neither significant differences between males and females on outcomes nor between different ethnic groups with the exception of African-Americans scoring lower on one of three emotion regulation outcomes. This study, one of the first to directly analyze SEL outcomes by sociodemographic variables, demonstrated the program's biopsychosocial approach was associated with beneficial SEL outcomes across genders and ethnicities. Future studies of biopsychosocial programs taking into account sociodemographics will allow SEL programs to be more effective across diverse populations.

Keywords: Adolescents; Sudarshan Kriya Yoga; ethnicity; gender; social emotional learning.