Date of Award

December 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Brandi M Crowe

Committee Member

Brent Hawkins

Committee Member

Marieke Van Puymbroeck


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at a greater risk for experiencing stress, particularly stress associated with negative interpersonal relations, than individuals without disabilities. Research has found that individuals with IDD often use maladaptive coping strategies to manage stress. The purpose of this study was to explore whether participation in a seven-and-a-half week yoga intervention served as a leisure-stress coping strategy for adults with IDD. Using a multi-method research design, six participants completed pre- and post-Lifestress Inventory assessments, and nine participants completed post-intervention semi-structured interviews focused on yoga and coping. Qualitative results indicated that yoga served as an emotion-focused coping strategy for participants, as it enhanced their mood, and provided them a sense of social support. Qualitative data did not suggest that yoga served as a problem-focused coping strategy for participants. While results suggest that yoga has the potential to serve as emotion-focused coping strategy for adults with IDD, it is recommended that yoga be offered in conjunction with other stress management interventions when teaching stress-coping techniques to adults with IDD. Future research should continue to explore adults with IDD’s stress experiences, and the types of coping strategies they find most effective when managing stress.



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