The results of the study showed a significant increase in overall social-emotional competency in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls over a four-month period.
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
3 May 2019
Middle school students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) as part of a special school program had significant improvements in social-emotional competencies and psychological distress, according to a new study published in Education.
“Social-emotional learning is gaining increased recognition as an important goal of education, said MUM professor Sandy Nidich, study coauthor and director of the MUM Center for Social-Emotional Health and Consciousness.
“Competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and goal-directed behavior help students perform better academically and promote enhanced emotional and social well being.”
The study compared 51 sixth-grade students who took part in a program with twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation to 50 students from a matched control school within the same West Coast public school district.
Results showed a significant increase in overall social-emotional competency in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls over a four-month period. The effects were particularly pronounced in high-risk subgroups, which experienced a significant increase on social-emotional competency and a significant decrease on emotional problems compared to controls.
Specific improvement was found in the areas of decision-making, goal-directed behavior, personal responsibility, relationship skills, and optimism.
The study used the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment Mini scale and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Emotional Symptoms scale.
“One important strength of the study was the use of teacher ratings of student social-emotional competencies rather than relying solely on student self-report,” Dr. Nidich said. “These results have implications for schools looking to implement evidence-based programs for student social-emotional learning and mental health. The media coverage of the results has been very positive, showing a keen interest throughout the world in the Transcendental Meditation technique as a means to improve social-emotional learning and reduce student stress.”
Laurent Valosek was lead author. Other coauthors included Randi Nidich from MUM, Jamie Grant, and Staci Wendt from WestEd Research in California.
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