Comparison of the effects of emotional intelligence training and yoga exercises on the social anxiety of women with depression

Document Type : Original Article


Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran


Background: Depression is a common mood and emotional disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Social anxiety, which is a common problem among individuals with depression, refers to the fear or discomfort experienced in social situations.
Objectives: This study aims to compare the effectiveness of emotional intelligence training and yoga exercises in reducing social anxiety in women with depression.
Methods: This study employed a quasi-experimental research design. Sixty women with depression who were receiving counseling and psychotherapy at centers in Tabriz City were selected as available. Forty-five participants were randomly assigned to either the emotional intelligence training group, the yoga exercise group, or the control group. The emotional intelligence training group received ten sessions, each lasting 90 minutes per week, while the yoga exercises group participated in eight weeks of qigong exercises, with two sessions per week, each lasting 75 minutes. The control group did not receive any training. All participants completed Leibovitz's social anxiety questionnaire before and after the intervention, as well as Beck's depression questionnaire before the intervention. Data analysis was conducted using one-variable covariance analysis.
Results: The results showed that the average scores of social anxiety in the emotional intelligence training group (32/61) and the yoga exercises group (34/38) significantly decreased compared to the control group (38/88) in the post-test (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The findings suggest that emotional intelligence training is more effective than yoga exercises in reducing social anxiety in women with depression. This study highlights the importance of emotional intelligence training as a potential intervention for individuals with depression and social anxiety. Further research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of emotional intelligence training and compare its effectiveness with other interventions for social anxiety.


Main Subjects

  1. Afshar A, Rostami C, Afshar A, Karimi A, Ardalan A. The study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on the Depression in housewives. J Jiroft Univ Med Sci. 2020;6(2):244-52.
  2. Sadock BJ. Kaplan & Sadock's synopsis of psychiatry: behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry: Wolters Kluwer Philadelphia, PA; 2015.
  3. Asher M, Asnaani A, Aderka IM. Gender differences in social anxiety disorder: A review. Clin Psychol Rev. 2017; 56:1-12. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2017.05.004 PMid:28578248
  4. Alden LE, Taylor CT. Interpersonal processes in social anxiety disorder. Interpersonal Processes in the Anxiety Disorders: Implications for understanding psychopathology and treatment: American Psychological Association; 2010. p. 125-52. doi:10.1037/12084-005
  5. Rietdijk J, Ising HK, Dragt S, Klaassen R, Nieman D, Wunderink L, et al. Depression and social anxiety in help-seeking patients with an ultra-high risk for developing psychosis. Psychiatry Res. 2013; 209(3):309-13. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2013.01.012 PMid:23433870
  6. Khorshidzadeh M, Borjali A, Sohrabi F, Delavar A. The effectiveness of schema therapy in the treatment of women (females) with social anxiety disorder. Res Clin Psychol Couns. 2012;1(2). doi: 10.22067/ijap.v1i2.9420.
  7. Plessen CY, Karyotaki E, Cuijpers P. Exploring the efficacy of psychological treatments for depression: a multiverse meta-analysis protocol. BMJ Open. 2022;12(1):e050197. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050197 PMid:35078836 PMCid:PMC8796219
  8. Deepeshwar S, Kumar D. Beneficial Effect of Yoga-based Lifestyle Intervention on Anxiety and Depression in Young adults: Non-randomized Controlled Study. Int J Med Public Health. 2022;12 (1). doi:10.5530/ijmedph.2022.1.3
  9. Javed D, Mishra S. Yoga practices in Social Anxiety Disorder (SAnD): A case report WSR to paruresis. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2022;13(3):100622. doi:10.1016/j.jaim.2022.100622 PMid:36087392 PMCid:PMC9468380
  10. Naderi De Sheikh M, Borna MR. The effectiveness of training of emotional intelligence on social anxiety, social adaptability, and mental health of students of Azad University of Ahvaz. Sci J Soc Psychol. 2020;7(54):125-35.
  11. Alipor A, Aliakbari Dehkordi M, Hasanzadeh Pashang S, Faraji R. The Effect of Emotional Intelligence Training on Mental Health of the Patients Hospitalized in Cardiology Department of Shahid Modares Hospital, Tehran, Iran. Neurosci J Shefaye Khatam. 2016; 4(3):41-50. doi:10.18869/acadpub.shefa.4.3.41
  12. Anjum A, Swathi P. A study on the impact of emotional intelligence on quality of life among secondary school teachers. Int J Psychol Couns. 2017;7(1):1-13.
  13. Lopes PN, Brackett MA, Nezlek JB, Schütz A, Sellin I, Salovey P. Emotional intelligence and social interaction. Personal Soc Psychol Bull. 2004;30(8):1018-34. doi:10.1177/0146167204264762 PMid:15257786
  14. Nolidin K, Downey LA, Hansen K, Schweitzer I, Stough C. Associations between social anxiety and emotional intelligence within clinically depressed patients. Psychiatr Q. 2013; 84:513-21. doi:10.1007/s11126-013-9263-5 PMid:23632828
  15. Motamedi F, Beh-Pajooh A, Shokoohi Yekta M, Afrooz GA, Ghobari-Bonab BG. Effect of training emotional intelligence on components of social adjustment of female adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems with single parents. Knowl Res Appl Psychol. 2021;22(1):79-92. doi: 10.30486/jsrp.2020.547921.0.
  16. Fernandez-Berrocal P, Alcaide R, Extremera N, Pizarro D. The role of emotional intelligence in anxiety and depression among adolescents. Individ Differ Res. 2006;4(1).
  17. Delhom I, Satorres E, Meléndez JC. Emotional intelligence intervention in older adults to improve adaptation and reduce negative mood. Int Psychogeriatr. 2022;34(1):79-89. doi:10.1017/S1041610220003579 PMid:33153515
  18. Wang S, Zhao Y, Wang X, Yang X, Cheng B, Pan N, et al. Emotional intelligence mediates the association between middle temporal gyrus gray matter volume and social anxiety in late adolescence. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2021;30: 1857-69. doi:10.1007/s00787-020-01651-z PMid:33011842
  19. Bakhshi R, Sedigh Arfaei F. The effectiveness of emotional intelligence training mediated by social self-efficacy on social anxiety and perfectionism of sixth grade elementary school female students. J Educ Psychol Stud. 2021;18 (43):35-17.
  20. Shehni Yailagh M, Maktabi G, Shokrkon H, Haghighi J, Kianpour Ghahfarokhi F. The effects of emotional intelligence training on social anxiety, social adjustment and emotional intelligence of male and female university students. Psychol Achiev. 2009;16(1): 3-26.
  21. Mashhadi A, Soltani Shurbakhorloo E, Hashemi Zarrini S. On the relationship between emotional intelligence and its components with symptoms of anxiety. J Fundamentals Ment Health. 2011;12 (4): 661-52. doi: 10.22038/jfmh.2010.883.
  22. Casasola CD. Analysis of heart rate during a tennis training session and its relationship with heart-healthy index. J Sport Health Res. 2010; 2(1):26-34.
  23. Saeed SA, Antonacci DJ, Bloch RM. Exercise, yoga, and meditation for depressive and anxiety disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(8):981-6.
  24. Raub JA. Psychophysiologic effects of Hatha Yoga on musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function: a literature review. J Altern Complement Med. 2002;8(6):797-812. doi:10.1089/10755530260511810 PMid:12614533
  25. Evin A, Khojasteh F, Ansari H. The effect of hatha yoga on anxiety and self-efficacy of primiparous women in labor. Open Complement Med J. 2019;9(1):3546-59.
  26. Hasanpour-Dehkordi A, Jivad N, Solati K. Effects of Yoga on Physiological Indices, Anxiety and Social Functioning in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Randomized Trial. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016; 10(6):Vc01-vc5. doi: 10.7860/jcdr/2016/18204.7916. PMID: 27504387; PMCID: PMCPMC4963747.
  27. Taso C-J, Lin H-S, Lin W-L, Chen S-M, Huang W-T, Chen S-W. The effect of yoga exercise on improving depression, anxiety, and fatigue in women with breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial. J Nurs Res. 2014;22(3):155-64. doi:10.1097/jnr.0000000000000044 PMid:25111109
  28. Zoogman S, Goldberg SB, Vousoura E, Diamond MC, Miller L. Effect of yoga-based interventions for anxiety symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Spiritual Clin Practice. 2019; 6(4):256. doi:10.1037/scp0000202
  29. Hosseini SS, Rajabi H, Sahraian MA, Moradi M, Mehri K, Abolhasani M. Effects of 8-week home-based yoga and resistance training on muscle strength, functional capacity and balance in patients with multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled study. Asian J Sports Med. 2018;9(3). doi:10.5812/asjsm.68807
  30. Karthik PS, Chandrasekhar M, Ambareesha K, Nikhil C. Effect of pranayama and suryanamaskar on pulmonary functions in medical students. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014;8(12):Bc04-6. doi: 10.7860/jcdr/2014/10281.5344. PMID: 25653936; PMCID: PMCPMC4316242.
  31. Marshall RS, Basilakos A, Williams T, Love-Myers K. Exploring the benefits of unilateral nostril breathing practice post-stroke: attention, language, spatial abilities, depression, and anxiety. J Altern Complement Med. 2014; 20(3):185-94. doi:10.1089/acm.2013.0019 PMid:24116880
  32. Gammage KL, Drouin B, Lamarche L. Comparing a yoga class with a resistance exercise class: Effects on body satisfaction and social physique anxiety in university women. J Phys Act Health. 2016;13(11):1202-9. doi:10.1123/jpah.2015-0642 PMid:27334125
  33. Asiachi N, Sanat Karan A, Behari S. The effect of yoga on social anxiety of elderly women and men. The First National Conference on the Accomplishments of Sports Science and Health PNU; badan University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz2017.
  34. Azargoon H, Kajbaf MB, Molavi H, Abedi MR. The Effect of Mindfulness Training on Mental Rumination and Depression of the Students of Isfahan University. Clin Psychol Pers. 2009;7(1): 13-20.
  35. Hasani J, Fayazi M, Akbari E. Reliability, validity, and confirmatory factor structure of Persian version of Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Soc Psychol Res Q. 2015;6(24):35.
  36. Sluyter D, Salovey P. Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Implications for educators. New York: Basic Books; 1997.
  37. Aghili SM, Afzali S. The Effect of Yoga Yoga Breathing Exercises on chronic Low Pain, Anxiety, Psychological and Physical Well-being of Women with MS. Health Psychol. 2017;5(20):109-24. doi: 20.1001.1.23221283.1395.
  38. American Psychiatric Association D, Association AP. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5: American psychiatric association Washington, DC; 2013.
  39. Beck AT, Emery G, Greenberg RL. Anxiety disorders and phobias: A cognitive perspective: Basic books; 2005.
  40. Bar-On R, Handley R, Fund S. The impact of emotional intelligence on performance. Linking emotional intelligence and performance at work: Current research evidence with individuals and groups. 2006:3-19.
  41. Tomaka J, Palacios R, Schneider KT, Colotla M, Concha JB, Herrald MM. Assertiveness predicts threat and challenge reactions to potential stress among women. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999;76(6): 1008. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.76.6.1008 PMid:10402683
  42. Ghanbari B, Saadat M. The Effectd of Yoga Rhythmic Movements on the Social Interactions of Children with Mental Deficiency. Found Educ. 2010;011(1). doi: 10.22067/fe.v11i1.1075.
  43. Jalilvand M, Souri R, Solimanitabar M. The Effectiveness of Yoga Exercises on Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Psoriasis. Neurosci J Shefaye Khatam. 2021;9(2):60-7. doi:10.52547/shefa.9.2.60
  44. Khezri Z. Efficacy of yoga training on compliance and the improvement of interpersonal relationships in boushehr juvenile institution: Islamic Azad University Marvasht Branch: Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology; 2012.
  45. Taneja DK. Yoga and health. Indian J Commun Med. 2014; 39 (2): 68. doi:10.4103/0970-0218.132716 PMid:24963220 PMCid:PMC4067931
  46. Schmidt NB, Richey JA, Buckner JD, Timpano KR. Attention training for generalized social anxiety disorder. J Abnorm Psychol. 2009; 118(1):5. doi:10.1037/a0013643 PMid:19222309