Nidich S, et al. Perm J. 2016;doi:10.7812/TPP/16-007.

October 10, 2016
1 min read

Transcendental Meditation reduces stress, trauma in male inmates


Nidich S, et al. Perm J. 2016;doi:10.7812/TPP/16-007.

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Transcendental Meditation, a stress reduction technique, significantly reduced trauma, depression, anxiety and other stress symptoms in male inmates, according to recent findings.

“To date, this is the largest randomized controlled trial with the Transcendental Meditation program on trauma symptoms,” Sanford Nidich, EdD, of Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, said in a press release. “These findings, along with previous published research on veterans, active military personnel, international refugees, and other at-risk populations provide support for the value of the Transcendental Meditation program as an alternative treatment for posttraumatic stress.”

Sandy Nidich
Sanford Nidich

To assess efficacy of Transcendental Meditation for trauma symptoms among male inmates, researchers randomly assigned 181 male inmates in the Oregon state correctional system to receive Transcendental Meditation (n = 90) or a no-treatment control (n = 91). Participants who received Transcendental Meditation were taught the stress reduction technique in a 7-step course over five 1-hour sessions. The treatment group was encouraged to practice Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes twice a day.

Inmates who received Transcendental Meditation exhibited significant reductions in total trauma score (P < .001), dissociation (P < .001), depression (P < .001), anxiety (P < .003), and sleep disturbance subscales (P < .001), and the Perceived Stress Scale (P < .001), compared with controls.

Effect sizes were significant, ranging from 0.67 to 0.89, according to researchers.

“I have watched inmates learn Transcendental Meditation and become more human after a long and isolating period of becoming less human,” study researcher Tom O’Connor, PhD, of Western Oregon University, Monmouth, said in the release. “[Transcendental Meditation] helps to awaken, deepen, and solidify the kind of transformational process that we so badly need in our overburdened and costly correctional system.” – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: Nidich reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.