Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Applied Developmental Psychology



Major Professor

Scaramella, Laura

Second Advisor

Beaton, Elliott

Third Advisor

Callahan, Kristin

Fourth Advisor

Laird, Robert

Fifth Advisor

Rubens, Sonia


Exposure to environmental stressors may challenge children’s developing self-regulatory abilities and increase their risk of developing emotional and behavior problems. Interventions aimed at improving children’s self-regulatory skills, specifically emotion regulation and attentional control, may reduce children’s risk for adjustment problems. The present study proposed a novel theoretical model which describes how participation in yoga may increase children’s self-regulatory skills and increase children’s mindfulness, or the ability to focus attention on the present moment. Both self-regulation and mindfulness were expected to be associated with fewer anxiety problems. Components of the theoretical model were evaluated using a very small sample of at-risk, elementary-aged children who participated in a school-based yoga program. Consistent with expectations, emotion regulation was statistically and significantly associated with better mindfulness and less anxiety; attentional control was associated with fewer anxiety problems. Contrary to expectations, attentional control was unrelated to mindfulness. Moreover, mindfulness did not interact with either attentional control or emotion regulation to predict anxiety. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical implications and critical next steps needed to evaluate yoga as a potential tool for reducing children’s risk for problem behavior by way of strengthening self-regulatory mechanisms.


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