Characteristics of yoga and meditation users among older Australian women – results from the 45 and up study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2019, 35 pp. 219 - 223
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Background and purpose: Yoga and meditation are predominantly utilised by healthy well-educated young women, but little is known about utilisation by older chronically ill women. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of yoga and meditation use among middle-to-higher aged Australian women with chronic conditions. Materials and methods: This is a sub-study of the 45 and Up Study including 1925 Australian women aged 53–95 years diagnosed with chronic conditions (asthma, depression, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis). Information on yoga and meditation use frequencies (categories: ‘no yoga’, ‘at least once daily’, ‘at least once weekly’, and ‘at least once monthly’), self-perceived effectiveness and communication with health care providers were assessed via self-report. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify independent predictors of yoga and meditation use, using SPSS 24.0. Results: Overall 6.8% and 10.7% of women reported the use of yoga and meditation respectively. Meditation was rarely practiced supervised (11.7%), compared to significant higher rates in yoga (53.2%). Predictors for yoga and meditation use were marital status (married/in relationship > not married/in relationship), higher health related hardiness, and higher education, whereas obesity, and diabetes decreased likelihood of use. While the majority found yoga and meditation helpful for their condition, the use was rarely monitored by or discussed with health care practitioners. Conclusion: This study finds that yoga and meditation are used by middle-to-higher aged Australian women with chronic illnesses. The lack of communication with health care providers is concerning and might hinder coordinated and effective health care around chronic illness. Further research is necessary to help understand possible concurrent health care use and thereby help inform safe, effective and coordinate health seeking amongst those with chronic illness.
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