To further our knowledge of stress in the schools and to refine the programs that help combat it, the Education Initiative researches the effect mind body techniques have on students’ performance, coping strategies, lifestyle behaviors, and overall well-being.
Controlled studies conducted by the Education Initiative demonstrate that students who were exposed to our relaxation response-based curriculum experienced:
- A higher grade point average
- Increased self-esteem
- Decreased psychological distress
- Better work habits
- Better attendance
- Decreased unexcused tardiness
Examples of research:
The Evaluation of a Mind/Body Intervention to Reduce Psychological Distress and Perceived Stress in College Students Deckro G., Ballinger K., Hoyt M., Wilcher M., Dusek J., Myers P., Greenberg B., Rosenthal D., Benson H., Journal of American College Health, Vol. 50, No. 6, May 2002.
The authors examined the effect of a 6-week mind/body intervention on college students' psychological distress, anxiety, and perception of stress. One hundred twenty-eight students were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n=63) or a waitlist control group (n=65). The experimental group received six (6) 90-minute group-training sessions in the relaxation response and cognitive behavioral skills. Significantly greater reductions in psychological distress, state anxiety, and perceived stress were found in the experimental group.
Academic Performance Among Middle School Students After Exposure to a Relaxation Response Curriculum Benson H., Wilcher M., Greenberg B., Huggins E., Ennis M., Zuttermeister P.C., Myers P., Friedman R., Journal of Research and Development in Education, Vol. 33: No. 3, Spring 2000.
The relationship between exposure to a relaxation response curriculum and academic achievement was analyzed in middle school students. Teachers were trained in how to teach relaxation response exercises and self-care strategies to their students. In addition, trainers modeled for teachers how to teach relaxation and self-care strategies to the students in the classroom. Four measures of academic outcomes were analyzed: grade point average, work habits, cooperation, and attendance. Students who had more than two exposures to semester long classes in which teachers had been trained in the relaxation response curriculum had higher grade point averages, work habits scores and cooperation scores than students who have two or fewer exposures. In addition, students who had more exposures to the relaxation response curriculum showed an improvement in academic scores over the course of a two-year period.
Increases in Positive Psychological Characteristics with a New Relaxation-Response Curriculum in High School Students Benson H., Kornhaber A., Kornhaber C., LeChanu M., Zuttermeister P., Myers P., Friedman R., Journal of Research and Development in Education - Vol. 27, No. 4, Summer 1994.
Self esteem and locus of control were evaluated in a group of high school students prior to, during, and following a single academic year. Using a randomized, crossover experimental design, students were exposed to either a health curriculum based on elicitation of the relaxation response and then a follow-up period, or to a control health curriculum and then the relaxation-response based curriculum. Exposure to the relaxation-response curriculum, but not the control curriculum, resulted in significant increases in self-esteem and a tendency toward greater internal locus of control scores.