Transcendental Meditation

Study on stress and employee development

Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress reduction, health, and employee development: A prospective study in two occupational settings

Author: Charles N. Alexander, Gerald C. Swanson, Maxwell V. Rainforth, Thomas W. Carlisle, Christopher C. Todd & Robert M. Oates Jr.

Published: Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An International Journal. Volume 6, Issue 3, 1993: pp 245-262

Methods: Despite the high cost of occupational stress, few studies have empirically documented effective methods for alleviating stress and promoting employee development. This three-month prospective study evaluated the effects of the Transcendental meditation (TM) technique on stress reduction, health and employee development in two settings in the automotive industry: a large manufacturing plant of a Fortune 100 corporation, and a small distribution sales company. Employees who learned Transcendental meditation were compared to controls similar in worksite, job position, demographic, and pretest characteristics.

Results: Regular meditators improved significantly more than controls (with irregular meditators scoring in between) on multiple measures of stress and employee development, including: reduced physiological arousal (measured by skin conductance levels) during and outside Transcendental meditation practice; decreased trait anxiety, job tension, insomnia and fatigue, cigarette and hard liquor use; improved general health (and fewer health complaints); and enhanced employee effectiveness, job satisfaction, and work/personal relationships. Principal components analysis identified three factors underlying this wide range of improvements through Transcendental meditation: “occupational coherence,” “physiological settledness,” and “job and life satisfaction.” The “effect size” of Transcendental meditation in reducing skin conductance, trait anxiety, alcohol/cigarette use, and in enhancing personal development (relative to the control condition) in these business settings was substantially larger than for other forms of meditation and relaxation reported in four previous statistical meta-analyses.

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