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Ahlström, Henry Hans Björn
Transcendental Meditation, adaptation mechanisms and valuations

Order No. 9133556

This study investigated the effect of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on deeper structures of personality. In Experiment 1, it was hypothesized that nine months of TM practice would increase scorings of a specific adaptation mechanism, Reversal II, in the projective test DMTm. In Reversal II, the threatening figure in the DMTm stimuli is described as relatively positive. Therefore, Reversal II, traditionally understood as a defense or adaptation mechanism, could also reflect an orientation toward positive values. In Experiment 1, performance of 22 matched experimental subjects (mean age 42.8 yrs, s.d. 8.68), and 22 controls (mean age 42.0 yrs, s.d. 12.3) was compared on the DMTm in posttest. The experimental subjects were scored with significantly more Reversal II (p < 0.05, one-tail test) and Transformations, another DMTm variable (p < 0.05, two-tail test), compared to the controls (Fisher's Exact Test). The second experiment tested the concept that Reversal II could reflect an orientation toward positive values by testing the same subjects over the same time period as in the first experiment with SIMm, a measure of psychological health. It was hypothesized that if the TM subjects increased in scorings of Reversal II, they would also increase in SIMm-scores, indicating an orientation toward positive values in life. The results of Experiment 2 showed an increase in an orientation toward positive values in the TM subjects (p < 0.05, One-Factorial ANCOVA), suggesting that the higher scoring of Reversal II in these subjects more accurately reflects an orientation toward positive values, as opposed to increased use of an adaptation mechanism. Finally, in Experiment 3 it was hypothesized that nine months practice of the TM technique would enhance psychological health as studied in a sample of 89 subjects that comprised 33 experimental subjects (mean age 42.5 yrs, s.d. 10.2), and 56 controls (mean age 42.4 yrs, s.d. 11.5). Using a pre-posttest design, there was a significant increase in psychological health in the TM group compared to the controls (p < 0.05, One-Factorial ANCOVA). Overall, these results suggest that practice of the TM technique increases psychological health and enhances an orientation toward positive values. Source: DAI, 52, no. 09B, (1991): 5008

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