below is some more information on the research for those who are interested =)
To give you a very brief overview of the project: the broad aim is to provide empirical evidence to support the idea that meditation leads to increase in psychological health and happiness and a reduction in psychological suffering and distress. I take the point that some people have made that meditation doesn’t actually make you happier but more emotionally stable, greater equanimity or less actual emotional highs and lows. I agree with this however, it is clear that meditation is expected to reduce mental suffering and I believe that through this it is more likely that a person would be likely to report a great sense of overall happiness when compared with someone who doesn’t meditate. Additionally, I am looking at around 10 outcome variables in order to try get a clear picture of what beneficial effects are produced by meditation.
These outcome variables are happiness, compassion, resilience, wellbeing, life satisfaction, anxiety, depression, stress, self-actualization, and physical health.
This will be done in three stages:
Firstly, I am indexing mediation practice across four dimensions (frequency, intensity, duration, and proficiency) and assessing the degree of association between these and the psychological health outcome variables. Furthermore I am exploring the role of mindfulness (state and trait), transcendence, and insight as mediators of this relationship. This will be accomplished with structural equation modeling which will simultaneously test the fit of the overall model as well as strength of individual relationships.
Secondly, I will be comparing meditators with a control group of non-meditating subjects across these variables. These comparisons will statistically control for any existing differences between the groups on religiousness, personality variables, as well as socially disenable responding bias (answering so you look good). This stage will not only involve a comparison between meditators with non-meditators but also compare advanced meditators with novice meditators and with non-meditators as it is hypothesized that increased in psychological heath and wellbeing will be observed across these three groups.
Finally stage 3 involves testing change over time (over approximately 12 months) in meditators across these outcome variables. This is to test the hypothesis that if meditation practice is positively related to psychological health and wellbeing than as meditators practice over time we expect their scores on the outcome variables to improve over time (this effect is likely to be more evident for beginning meditators as for someone who has meditated fro 40 years may not experience a great deal of change over a single year).
So far I have been running preliminary analyses on the data and the results seem to be confirming what I expect.
At this stage, we only need a few more participants and we can proceed with data analysis so if anyone is interested please complete the survey or pass it onto a friend.
If you have any questions as always please do not hesitate to contact me