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Study Reports Transcendental Meditation Improved Student Graduation Rates

Update Date: Jun 10, 2013 02:22 PM EDT

Meditation and yoga have been tied to improving cognitive abilities, which could lead to an increased in productivity and overall mental health. Not only do these techniques help the body to relax, they also promote a healthier mindset. People who choose to work continuously without many breaks could be subjected to more stress and pressure, factors that affect health and productivity, which is why meditating could be beneficial. In a new study, researchers chose to evaluate the potential benefits of transcendental meditation for students' graduation rates.

Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation that requires the individual to dedicate two 20-minute sessions each day for relaxation. During these two sessions, the individual should ideally sit comfortably with closed eyes but they are not supposed to be sleeping. This type of method has been linked to reducing stress and anxiety while promoting learning capabilities. In this study, researchers looked at high school graduation rates and transcendental meditation. They found that transcendental meditation could improve graduation rates.

The researchers focused on the data from 235 seniors from an East Coast urban high school. After taking grade point averages into account, the researchers found that people who participated in transcendental meditation were 15 percent more likely to graduate in comparison to the control group of students who did not meditate. When the researchers looked specifically at the low academic performing students, they found that transcendental meditation increased graduation rates by 25 percent.

"These results are the first to show that the Transcendental Meditation program can have a positive impact on student graduation rates. The largest effect was found in the most academically challenged students. Recently published research on increased academic achievement and reduced psychological stress in urban school students may provide possible mechanisms for the higher graduation rates found in this study," the co-author, Sanform Nidich, Ed.D said. Nidich is a professor of education at the Maharishi University of Management.

This finding could help with finding new ways of keeping kids in school until they graduate. According to the press release, around 69 percent of teenagers graduate high school, a rate that needs to be improved. Studies have found that high school graduation rates are tied to lower crimes and imprisonment. Keeping children in school and off the streets help both the individual and the community.

The study was published in Education. The press release can be found here.

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