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New study: Transcendental Meditation effective antidote to record stress levels in school students
Maharishi University of Management Translate This Article
16 November 2011
With record levels of student stress reported in a recent UCLA survey, can a simple stress-reducing meditation technique be a viable solution?
A new study published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique significantly decreased psychological distress in public school students. The study, conducted with at-risk minority secondary school students, showed a 36 percent reduction in overall psychological distress. Significant decreases were also found in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.
This graph shows a 36 percent reduction in psychological distress in 106 at-risk racial and ethnic minority students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to controls over a period of 4 months (p=.010). Significant decreases were also found in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Rising Stress Levels Affect Emotional and Physical Health
The percentage of students in the UCLA survey reporting good or above-average high school emotional health dropped from 55.3 percent in 2009 to 51.9 percent in 2010. This marks the lowest level within the past 25 years.
Dr. Charles Elder, MD, lead author of the TM study, and investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, emphasized the important implications of the findings on reduced stress. ''It is vital that we start addressing the high levels of emotional stress being reported by high school and college students. Decreased stress can have a positive impact on mental health, and can also reduce the risk for hypertension, obesity, and diabetes—major risk factors for heart disease,'' explained Dr. Elder.
Educational research has also linked student stress to negative school behavior and poor academic performance.
Promising Findings for Education
''These new findings on reduced stress, along with the recent research on academic achievement gains, hold tremendous promise for public education,'' said Sanford Nidich, EdD, principal investigator, and professor of education at Maharishi University of Management. ''There is a growing body of evidence showing Transcendental Meditation to be an easy to implement, value-added educational program that promotes emotional health and increases academic achievement in at-risk students,'' said Dr. Nidich.
A total of 106 secondary school students, 87% racial and ethnic minorities, took part in the study. Results showed that over a four-month period, students practicing Transcendental Meditation as part of their schools' Quiet Time program exhibited significant reductions in psychological distress factors compared to controls.
The study was supported by the David Lynch Foundation.
Contact: Ken Chawkin
Tel: +1 641-470-1314
Maharishi University of Management
Global Good News will continue to report on the new study on Transcendental Meditation and decreased stress levels in students, including a fact sheet giving more details of the study.
© Copyright 2011 AAAS, the science society.
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