Article: Effect of Meditation on Social-emotional Learning in Middle School Students
Publication: Education, Volume 139
Publisher: Project Innovation
Publication Date: March 2019
Authors: Lauren Valosek, Sanford Nidich, Staci Wendt, Jamie Grant, Randi Nidich
Related WestEd Program: Health & Justice Program

New research suggests middle school students practicing Transcendental Meditation as part of the widely implemented school Quiet Time program can significantly improve their social-emotional competencies and alleviate psychological distress.

WestEd Senior Research Associate Staci Wendt and her co-authors at the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education compared 51 sixth-grade students from an urban public school district who participated in the Quiet Time program, which included a twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation, to 50 students from a demographically similar school within the same district.

They found a marked increase in overall social-emotional competency among students in the Quiet Time group compared to students who were not in the program. The effects were most notable among students identified as “high risk,” according to scores on the social-emotional learning instruments. In particular, students who were identified as high risk experienced a significant increase in their social-emotional competency, as well as a significant decrease in negative emotional symptoms as compared to students who did not participate in the program.

Positive outcomes include improvements in teacher-reported decision-making, goal-directed behavior, personal responsibility, relationship skills, and optimistic thinking.

This study adds to the growing body of research and can help inform school and district leaders searching for programs to improve social-emotional learning and mental health among middle school students.

Read the article.