MEDITATION AND
STRESS
THE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION ON
STRESS LEVELS OF COLLEGE
STUDENTS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kja3EbRKQpg&feature=related
By Roy Rogers & Karen Small
ABSTRACT
http://ecoseedemo.com/stock/images/20080222014944_zen%20garden.jpg
This experiment examined stress levels in 40 randomly
selected Camosun College students, 20 male and 20 female.
Both groups met in separate but identical classrooms for
one hour twice a week for four weeks leading up to exam
period. The experimental group engaged in meditation and
deep breathing exercises, while the control group came
together to study or socialize. Stress levels were selfreported after the four weeks using the Schmid-Reath
Stress Level Indicator. The students that meditated were
found to have lower overall stress levels after the four week
period than the students in the control group, with a pvalue of 0.025.
THEORETICAL CONTEXT




According to the American Psychological Association (2009),
chronic stress is on the rise in our society. It has been
reported that 49% of Americans are living with “extreme
stress” and almost half feel that their stress levels have
increased in the last 5 years.
Chronic stress levels are maladaptive and can lead to
fatigue, illness and depression (Walach, Nord, Zier, DietzWaschkowski, Kersig, & Schüpbach, 2007).
Research on meditation suggests that it has a powerful
ability to calm the mind, increase immune system
functioning and restore the body’s nervous system(Hamilton,
Kitzman & Guyotte, 2006).
Studies have shown that mindful relaxation and meditation
on a weekly basis can counteract the negative effects of
stress and increase an individual’s ability to cope with future
stressors (Capolla & Spectre, 2009).
HYPOTHESIS

College students who meditate (sit quietly and
engage in deep breathing) for one hour twice a
week for the month leading up to exam period
will experience a decrease in stress levels as
compared to the control group.
http://bluemooncandles.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/meditation-leaf.jpg
INDEPENDENT &
DEPENDENT VARIABLES


Independent Variable
Meditation - defined in
this study as sitting
quietly and engaging in
deep breathing exercises.
Dependent Variable
Stress levels – measured
using the Schmid-Reath
Stress Level Indicator
http://imagecache5.art.com/p/LRG/26/2619/FMGM
D00Z/yellow-gingko-leaves.jpg
EXTRANEOUS VARIABLES
http://physicalsubculture.com/wpcontent/uploads/2009/
10/meditation1.jpg

Previous meditation
experience

Cultural background

Health status

Sleep patterns

Nutrition

Home life

Financial situation
PROCEDURE




40 Camosun College students were recruited and randomly
assigned into an experimental group and a control group.
Both groups met from 8:30 am to 9:30 am in assigned
classrooms on campus every Monday and Wednesday
morning for four weeks leading up to exams. The two
classrooms used were 20’ x 20’ with fresh circulated air,
natural lighting and all students were asked to turn off
any electrical devices for the entire hour.
The experimental group were given yoga mats and were
instructed to meditate (sit quietly and engage in deep
breathing exercises).
The control group were given desks to sit at and were
instructed to study or socialize.
http://www.tbssct.gc.ca/e
val/dev/career/workshops
ateliers/pencil.jpg
THE SCHMID-REATH STRESS
LEVEL INDICATOR

At the end of the 4 week
period, both groups were
asked to rate their stress
levels on a scale of 1 to
10 using the SchmidReath Stress Level
Indicator.
1 = very calm
 10 = very stressed

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/
thumb/f/fe/Unbalanced_scales.svg/400pxUnbalanced_scales.svg.png
RESULTS
Experimental Group
Control Group
N=
20
20
Raw Data:
7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00,
7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 8.00, 8.00,
7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 7.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00,
8.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00 8.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00, 8.00
Mode:
7.00
8.00
Mean:
7.25
7.60
Median:
7.00
8.00
Range:
1
1
SD:
0.444
0.503
T Value: 2.33
P Value: 0.025
DISCUSSION
Problems with research:
http://hersweetnothings.files.wordpress.com/2
009/08/person-thinking-or-dreaming-gicleeprint-c11860975-jpeg.jpg

We did not measure the overall stress
levels of the students prior to beginning
this study. Had we done so we would
have been able to gain a greater insight
into how much the experimental group’s
stress levels decreased after meditating
for 4 weeks.

Low Generalizability: The participants
in this study were selected from a college
campus and thus the results are not
representative of the greater population
or across different cultures.

Bias: Because the groups were selfreporting their stress levels there is a
risk of response biases. It must be taken
into consideration that some participants
may have answered to be seen in a
favourable light or to support our
hypothesis.
DISCUSSION

Future Research:

The long-term effects of
meditation on the health of
college students.
A 2 year longitudinal study
which will include regular selfreport questionnaires,
physiological check-ups, EEG
scans and interviews.

The effects of teaching relaxation
techniques to children in
elementary school as preparation
for later stressors.
This study will be aimed at
investigating the benefits of
early educational programs to
foster better coping skills later in
life.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2177/2075361721_fdde367f4
a.jpg
DISCUSSION

Applications:

Raising student awareness of the importance of relaxation
techniques to manage stress and promote healthy well-being.

Colleges and Universities could increase this awareness through
guest speakers, workshops and programs to teach students how to
relax and stay healthy while juggling their busy schedules.

Educational institutions could also provide quiet areas on campus
where students could go throughout the day to meditate and
regroup.
http://www.mimosaspirit.com/images/Relaxation%20Music%20for%20the%20Healing%20Arts.jpg
SUMMARY
No matter how busy you feel, there should always be time
in every day to relax and take care of yourself. Chronic
stress is bad for our health and can lead to fatigue, illness
and depression. Meditation is an effective way to live in the
moment, improve concentration, relax the body and to give
us energy to keep on going during hectic periods of time.
http://www.thechristianmeditator.com/meditation%20pic.jpg
REFERENCES




American Psychological Association. (2009). Stress a major problem
in the U.S. APA on-line. Retrieved from:
http://www.apa.org/releases/stressproblem.html
Coppola, F., & Spector, D. (2009). Natural stress relief meditation as
a tool for reducing anxiety and increasing self-actualization.
Social Behavior and Personality, 37(3), 307-312.
doi:10.2224/sbp.2009.37.3.307
Hamilton, N., Kitzman, H., & Guyotte, S. (2006). Enhancing health
and emotion: Mindfulness as a missing link between cognitive
therapy and positive psychology. Journal of Cognitive
Psychotherapy, 20(2), 123-134. doi:10.1891/jcop.20.2.123.
Walach, H., Nord, E., Zier, C., Dietz-Waschkowski, B., Kersig, S., &
Schüpbach, H. (2007). Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a
method for personnel development: A pilot evaluation.
International Journal of Stress Management, 14(2), 188-198.
doi:10.1037/1072-5245.14.2.188.