Yoga Use in Domestic Violence Shelters: Exploring Organizational and Personal Factors Associated with Adopting Yoga as a Complementary Treatment

Fazeeda Abdur-Rahman, Fordham University


Background Service provision to address trauma-related intimate partner violence (IPV) is often through conventional psychotherapeutic approaches which may narrow the focus of treatment. Using unconventional approaches of complementary alternative medicines (CAM) such as yoga is innovative in the domestic violence field. Yoga has been shown to positively impact the mental and physical health consequences of IPV that have been identified among women in domestic violence shelters. It is therefore important to understand what factors contribute to adopting yoga as an alternative treatment model. This exploratory study sought to understand if organizational factors (organizational culture and transformational leadership) and personal factors (knowledge of yoga effectiveness and personal experience with yoga) influence yoga adoption in domestic violence shelters. Methods Forty-three domestic violence shelters throughout New York City were invited to participate in this study. Fifteen shelters returned questionnaires (34% response rate). Data were collected from program directors, their managers, and direct service providers using the Organizational Culture Profile, the Leadership Practices Inventory, and questions formulated by the researcher. Results Eight of fifteen shelters reported yoga use either directly or by referral. Analyses exploring relationships between organizational factors, personal factors, and yoga use indicated no significant relationships. Open-ended questions yielded more understanding about facilitators or hindrances to yoga adoption. Belief in yoga's ability to impact on stress and provide mental and physical health benefits was identified as a facilitating factor to yoga use. Hindrances identified pertained to shelters' policies and immediate resources or to perceptions about clients. Conclusions Organizational and personal factors explored were unrelated to yoga adoption in this study which may be attributable to the small sample size. Lessons learned are discussed and suggestions to increase sample size are provided. Information about facilitating factors and hindrances to yoga adoption provide directions for future research.

Subject Area

Social work|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Abdur-Rahman, Fazeeda, "Yoga Use in Domestic Violence Shelters: Exploring Organizational and Personal Factors Associated with Adopting Yoga as a Complementary Treatment" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3620044.