Transcendental meditation: a review, study and discussion

The Cattell Anxiety Scale, the Spielberger Anxiety Inventory and the Northridge Developmental Scale, a measure of self-actualization with sub-scales for aggression, depression and neuroticism, were administered to an experimental group (N = 31) of university students three days prior to their beginning a program of Transcendental Meditation, and to a control group (N = 19) of university students matched for age and sex. Six and one-half weeks later the three scales were again administered to both groups under conditions similar to the first testing. All subjects were within the norms on two validity scales on the Northridge Developmental Scale on both testings, indicating test results were valid. Meditators showed a significant decrease on the Spielberger Anxiety Inventory (P< .0005), the Cattell Anxiety Scale (P< .025), depression (P< .005) and neuroticism (P< .01). Meditators also showed a significant increase in self-actualization (P< .025). The control group did not indicate a significant change in any of these scales. The same three scales were then administered to a third group (N =16) of long-term meditators (matched for age, sex and educational level) and their scores were compared to the short-term meditators. The long-term meditators (mean length of 43 months of meditating) were found to show significantly lower levels of anxiety on the Spielberger Inventory (P< .025) and on the Cattell Scale (P< .0005) and were also found to show significantly lower levels of depression (P< .0l) and neuroticism (P< .005), as well as a significantly higher level of self-actualization (P< .0005) than the short -term meditators (mean length of six and one-half weeks meditating). These results indicate increased psychological health with the length of time meditating. A review of the physiological and psychological literature shows that the present study replicates the findings of other investigators. Meditators are found not only to decrease negative personality characteristics, suggesting useful clinical applications, but they also grow in the qualities of self-actualization found in healthy, more creative members of society. A discussion gave special consideration to a neuro-physiological theory of Transcendental Meditation in relation to the improved physiological, psycho-physiological and psychological .conditions noticed among practitioners of Transcendental Meditation. Clinical and non-clinical applications were suggested with special reference to educational systems studying the feasibility of incorporating Transcendental Meditation into their specific programs.