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DECEMBER 18, 2011 • ISSUE 148

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Students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique as part of their school’s Quiet Time program

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The study found a 36 percent reduction in psychological distress in students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to controls over a period of 4 months
(view enlarged chart)

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Dr. Sanford Nidich, principal investigator of the study

New Study Shows Reduced
Stress in School Students

A new study published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology found the Transcendental Meditation® 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.

“These new findings on reduced stress, along with the recent research on academic achievement gains, hold tremendous promise for public education,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., principal investigator and MUM professor of education. “There’s a growing body of evidence showing the Transcendental Meditation technique to be an easy-to-implement, value-added educational program that promotes emotional health and increases academic achievement in at-risk students.”

“It’s vital that we start addressing the high levels of emotional stress being reported by high school and college students,” said Charles Elder, M.D., lead author of the study and investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. “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.”

A total of 106 secondary school students, 87 percent racial and ethnic minorities, took part in the study. Results showed that over a four-month period, students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique as part of their school’s Quiet Time program exhibited significant reductions in psychological distress factors compared to controls.

According to James Dierke, 2008 National Association of Secondary School Principals — National Middle School Principal of the Year, “The Quiet Time program is the most powerful, effective program I have come across in my 39 years as a public school educator for addressing this problem. It is nourishing children and providing them an immensely valuable tool for life. It is saving lives.”

Other coauthors of the study include Dr. John Hagelin, Dr. Randi Nidich, Dr. Maxwell Rainforth, and Dr. Chris Jones.

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