• Impact of stress reduction on negative school behavior in adolescents.

      Barnes, Vernon A.; Bauza, Lynnette B; Treiber, Frank A.; Georgia Institute for Prevention of Human Diseases and Accidents; Department of Pediatrics; Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior (2008-01-16)
      BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of stress reduction via the Transcendental Meditation program on school rule infractions in adolescents. METHODS: Forty-five African American adolescents (ages 15-18 years) with high normal systolic blood pressure were randomly assigned to either Transcendental Meditation (n = 25) or health education control (n = 20) groups. The meditation group engaged in 15-min sessions at home and at school each day for 4 months. The control group was presented 15-min sessions of health education at school each day for 4 months. Primary outcome measures were changes in absenteeism, school rule infractions and suspension days during the four-month pretest period prior to randomization compared with the four-month intervention period. RESULTS: Comparing the pretest and intervention periods, the meditation group exhibited a mean decrease of 6.4 absentee periods compared to an increase of 4.8 in the control group (p <.05). The meditation group exhibited a mean decrease of 0.1 infractions over the four months compared to an increase of 0.3 in the control group (p <.03). There was a mean reduction of 0.3 suspension days due to behavior-related problems in the meditation group compared to an increase of 1.2 in the control group (p <.04). CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate that the Transcendental Meditation program conducted in the school setting has a beneficial impact upon absenteeism, rule infractions, and suspension rates in African American adolescents.