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Students find reduced stress, improved coping skills with Transcendental Meditation: Lead author discusses new American University study
by Global Good News staff writer
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1 December 2009
Dr Sanford Nidich, lead author, continued his report on a recent study conducted at American University in Washington, DC and published in the December issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.
The study revealed that regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme by at-risk college students led to reduced hypertension and stress, and increased coping ability. Dr Nidich reported* on results pertaining to psychological distress and coping ability, as well as discussing the overall implications of the study.
Please also see Part I of this article, in which Dr Nidich introduces the study and overviews results for the subgroup of students at risk for hypertension.
Dr Nidich went on to explain that measures of psychological stress were taken using a profile of mood disturbance, and coping ability was measured using the constructive thinking inventory. Results of the study showed significant improvements in all measures of mood for the group of students practising Transcendental Meditation, vs. the control group. These results were displayed on a total distress scale, as well as on subscales for anxiety, depression, and anger or hostility. In addition, students in the Transcendental Meditation group displayed an increase in coping ability, while no increase was noticed among the control group.
One of the most significant points revealed by this study, said Dr Nidich, is that changes in stress correspond directly to those in blood pressure. As psychological distress decreases and coping ability increases, blood pressure decreases—and vice versa.
'This study confirms what Transcendental Meditation researchers have been suspecting for years—that stress has a major influence on blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,' he said.
Dr Nidich also emphasized that the psychological results were important in their own right, since statistics have shown marked increases in depression, anxiety, and other disorders among college students over recent years. Surveys, he said, estimate that:
∙ 18 million college students in the US suffer from mental health problems;
∙ diagnosis of depression among students has risen 50 percent; and
∙ more than twice as many college students are on psychiatric medications than were a decade ago.
'For these reasons, our research at American University will prove invaluable to college administrators, mental health professionals, and health care providers on college campuses,' explained Dr Nidich.
In conclusion, Dr Nidich expressed his hopes that more and more college students will learn Transcendental Meditation in coming months and years, thanks to the burgeoning initiative of Dr John Hagelin, Raja of Invincible America, and the David Lynch Foundation, to start clubs and associations of student TM practitioners on campuses nationwide.
* Dr Nidich's report was featured on the 28 November 2009 Maharishi Global Family Chat, broadcast daily via Internet webcast on the Maharishi Channel, Channel 3. Podcasts of the daily Global Family Chat (audio track) are also available for automatic download, via an RSS feed.
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