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Reeks, Dori L.
Improved quality of life in Iowa through the Maharishi Effect.

Order No.9114491

Numerous studies of diverse populations and cultures on the city, state, national and international levels have demonstrated that group practice of the Transcendental MeditationΠ(TM) and TM-SidhiΠprogram improves the quality of life as indicated by such measures as reductions in crime, traffic fatalities, unemployment and inflation. Several recent studies have indicated that Iowa has a low level of social stress and high level of quality of life relative to the rest of the United States. Since a large group of TM and TM-Sidhi program participants has been present at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa since 1979, the present study tested the hypothesis that monthly increases in the size of this group have contributed to improvements in Iowa's quality of life.

The study used Box-Jenkins time series transfer function analysis on monthly rates of unemployment, crime, and traffic fatalities and on an equally weighted composite index of these three variables from 1979 to 1986. The hypothesis of the study was consistently supported. Transfer function estimates indicated significant and sizable reductions in the monthly rates of unemployment (p <.004), and traffic fatalities (p <.0001) at a lag of one month, and an immediate decrease in the same month (lag 0) in crime rate (p =.05). In addition, a significant improvement in quality of life on the composite index (p <.004) was found at lag one. These results were generally quite robust with respect to different specifications of competing noise models. The final transfer function models were objectively identified as those which met the usual diagnostic criteria and which also minimized the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), a measure of optimal model choice.

Time series transfer function analysis was chosen for this study because it provides both a rigorous and conservative estimate of the magnitude of the influence of the independent variable. This method controlled for the effects of trends and cycles such as those due to seasonal changes, business cycles, and holidays, and thus eliminated these alternative explanations. The introduction of the seat belt law in 1986 was also studied and did not influence the results for the traffic fatality variable. State officials were queried concerning other possible alternative hypotheses and no viable alternative explanations were found.

Therefore results of the study upheld the hypothesis that the quality of life in Iowa improved when numbers of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program increased. Source: DAI, 51, no. 12B, (1990): 6155

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