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Effect of Meditation on Psychological Stress and Academic Achievement in High School Students: A Randomized Controlled Study

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Increased attention is being placed on improving psychological well-being and academic achievement in school students. Prior research on meditation provides support for student improvement in these important educational areas. As part of a 9th grade Quiet Time school program, 98 students were randomly assigned either to learn the Transcendent Meditation (TM) program or to engage in sustained silent reading twice daily during school time at a West Coast public high school. Students were measured on overall emotional stress; anxiety, anger, and fatigue; quality of sleep; academic achievement; and school attendance. Both groups were baseline tested prior to intervention in the fall semester and posttested at the end of the spring semester. Results for the meditation group compared to silent reading controls indicated significant reductions in overall emotional stress symptoms, anger, and fatigue, and improvements in quality of sleep and English Language Arts (ELA) academic achievement. Taking into account students below ELA proficiency at baseline, 69% of the meditation students improved at least one performance level at posttest compared to 33% of the control students. These findings indicate the value of implementing a school-based TM program to improve well-being and academic performance in high school students. Future larger-scale research is encouraged. Keywords: meditation, academic performance, absenteeism, stress, Transcendental Meditation

Keywords: reading instructors

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 15, 2021

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