Reduced Psychological Distress in Racial and Ethnic Minority Students Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program

By Elder, Charles; Nidich, Sanford et al. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Reduced Psychological Distress in Racial and Ethnic Minority Students Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program


Elder, Charles, Nidich, Sanford, Colbert, Robert, Hagelin, John, Grayshield, Lisa, Oviedo-Lim, Dynah, Nidich, Randi, Rainforth, Maxwell, Jones, Chris, Gerace, Denise, Journal of Instructional Psychology


There is a growing literature describing the stressful nature of students' school experience. Previous research has found that racial and ethnic minority groups are particularly subject to high levels of stress due to exposure to violence, pressures due to acculturation, and the schooling process. This is the first study to evaluate effects of the Transcendental Meditation[R] program on psychological distress across diverse racial and ethnic minority student groups. A total of 106 secondary school students (68 meditating and 38 non-meditating students), who completed both baseline and 4-month post-testing, were included. Results indicated reductions in Transcendental Meditation students compared to controls in general psychological distress and anxiety. Within-group effects on depressive symptoms also were observed. Because of the association between psychological distress and both adverse school performance and poor physical and mental health outcomes, it is important for school administrators to implement programs of stress reduction into their schools.

Keywords: Transcendental Meditation, stress, psychological distress

**********

There is a growing literature describing the stressful nature of students' school experience (Lowry, Cohen, Modzeleski, & Kann, 1999). Research has found a strong association between students' experience of stress and years of schooling, with nearly 50% of secondary school students reporting either psychological stress or physical-stress related symptoms (Minnesota Department of Education, 2007). Other studies have linked psychological distress such as anxiety and depression, to poor academic achievement, negative school behavior, and adverse physical and mental health outcomes (e.g., Aluja & Branch, 2004; Kiselica, Baker, Thomas, & Reedy, 1994; Schwarzer, 1990; Heinrich, 1979; Barnes, Bauza, Treiber, 2001; Barnes, Treiber, & Davis, 2001; Suldo, Shaunessy, & Hardesty, 2008).

Socio-environmental and school stressors, including acculturation, violence and academic troubles, are among factors that have impacted students' levels of psychological distress and associated poor academic performance (Thompson & Massat, 2005; Grannis, 1992). In Hispanic students, difficulties in language and other socio-cultural factors have contributed to lower self-efficacy and negative health behaviors such as alcohol use, which have in turn poorly impacted academic performance and graduation rates (Alva, 1995; Alva & Reyes, 1999; Close & Solberg, 2008; Willig, Harnisch, Hill, & Maehr, 1983). Studies on psychological distress in African American students indicate that exposure to violence increases the risk for depression, anger, disassociation, and post-trauma stress, as well as increasing academic and behavioral problems (Hall, Cassidy & Stevenson, 2008; Singer, Anglin, Song, & Lunghofer, 1995; Thompson & Massat, 2005). For American Indian students, conflicting cultural styles not supported by the public schools (Costantino & St. Charles, 2000) is a major factor contributing to feelings of anxiety, depression, marginality and alienation, as well as heightened psychosomatic symptoms and identity confusion (Williams & Berry, 1991).

Previous research has shown that psychological distress can be decreased in other populations through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program. A meta-analysis of 146 studies with adults by Eppley, Abrams, and Shear (1989) showed the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to other meditation and stress reduction programs in reducing anxiety. Research has also shown reductions in depressive symptoms and emotional distress (Sheppard, Staggers, & John, 1997; Aron, Orme-Johnson, & Brubaker, 1981).

Studies of Transcendental Meditation interventions in predominantly African American secondary and middle school students have shown decreased cardiovascular reactivity to stressful stimuli, lower rates of school absenteeism, rule infractions and suspensions, and improved emotional regulation and well-being (Barnes, Treiber, & Davis, 2001; Barnes, Bauza, & Davis, 2001; Rosaen & Benn, 2006). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Upgrade your membership to receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad‑free environment

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Reduced Psychological Distress in Racial and Ethnic Minority Students Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved in your active project from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.