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Transcendental Meditation and improved quality of life
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3 January 2008
More than 40 studies have shown that group practice of Transcendental Meditation and the more advanced Transcendental Meditation Sidhi program reduces social stress, as indicated by violence, crime, and international conflict in society, and improves economic vitality and governmental efficiency.
How did scientists measure this? To evaluate the potential impact of the Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme on society, researchers assessed many variables, including crime rate, violent fatalities (homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle fatalities), armed conflict, economic indicators, and broad quality-of-life indices, which include the above variables as well as rates of notifable diseases, hospital admissions, infant mortality, divorce, cigarette and alcohol consumption, and GNP.
The results indicated that the effects for each of these variables, or for overall indices, consistently changed in the direction of improved quality of life when a sufficiently large group of people were practising the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in society. The following are summaries of four studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals:
• Decreased crime rate in 24 U.S. cities: Twenty-four cities that reached 1% of their populations practising the Transcendental Meditation program in 1972 were found to have significant reductions in crime trend during the 6-year experimental period from 1972-1977, compared to 24 control cities matched for total population, college population, and geographic region. Even when statistically controlling for specific demographic factors known to affect crime, such as median years of education, stability of residence, and pre-intervention crime rate, the crime trends in the 1% cities were still significantly lower. (Crime and Justice IV: 26-45, 1981.)
• Decreased crime rate in 160 U.S. cities: A study of a random sample of 160 U.S. cities found that increasing the numbers of Transcendental Meditation participants in the 160 cities over a 7-year period (1972-1978) was followed by reductions in crime rate. The study used data from the FBI Uniform Crime Index total and controlled for other variables known to affect crime. Causal analysis supported the hypothesis that Transcendental Meditation caused the reduction in crime. (Journal of Mind and Behavior 9: 457-486, 1989.)
• Decreased crime rate in Washington, D.C.: A study of weekly data from October 1981 through October 1983 found that increases in the size of a large group practising the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in Washington, D.C., were followed by significant reductions in violent crime. Weekly violent crime totals in Washington decreased 11.8% during the 2-year period. Time series analysis verified that this decrease in crime could not have been due to changes in the percentage of the population who were of young-adult age, nor Neighborhood Watch programs nor changes in police polices or procedures. (Journal of Mind and Behavior 9: 457-486, 1989.)
• Reduced armed conflict and improved quality of life in the Middle East: This study found that increases in the size of a group of individuals in Jerusalem practising the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program had a statistically significant effect on improving the quality of life in Jerusalem (automobile accidents, fires, and crime) and the quality of life in Israel (crime, stock market, and national mood measured through news content analysis) and on reducing the war in Lebanon (war deaths of all factions and war intensity measured through news content analysis). The effects of holidays, temperature, weekends, and other forms of seasonality were explicitly controlled for and could not account for these results.
As in many other studies, the pattern of results supported the hypothesis that the Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi program group caused the reduction in armed conflict and the improvement in the quality of life. (Journal of Conflict Resolution 32: 776-812, 1988; Journal of Conflict Resolution 34: 756-768, 1990.)
The accuracy of the results of these and other studies was strengthened through the use of sophisticated methods, including:
* statistically controlling for a broad range of demographic variables, such as population density, median years of education, age, etc.
* applying causal 'cross-lagged analysis' methods, which indicated that increasing numbers of people practising Transcendental Meditation is followed by corresponding improvements in society;
* employing 'time-series analyses' to control for seasons, trends, drifts, and rival hypotheses, and to demonstrate temporal relationships among variables, supporting the hypothesis that Transcendental Meditation caused these beneficial changes;
* creating large groups of Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi program participants in various populations to demonstrate positive changes on specific social indicators, such as crime, and predicting that these changes would occur.
Moreover, the results of the studies assessing the effect of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi program on society are highly statistically significant. The probabilities that these positive effects could have been due to chance are very small.
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