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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 202637 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Neuroendocrine Abnormalities Associated with Aggression and Crime
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation  Volume:36  Issue:1/2/3/4  Dated:2003  Pages:67-87
Author(s): Kenneth G. Walton; Debra K. Levitsky
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews evidence that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program may reduce aggression and crime by removing stress-induced abnormalities.
Abstract: Abnormalities in the central nervous system have been linked with aggression and crime in a large number of studies. Decreased function of serotonin is highly correlated with aggression and impulsivity. Physiological systems activated by stressors have the capacity to protect and restore but also to damage the body. The three types of these symptoms are serotonin systems, catecholamine systems, and the HPA axis. Among the hundreds of studies conducted on the effects of the TM program during the last 30 years, several have addressed changes in parameters known to reflect level of stress or function of adaptive mechanisms, including neuroendocrine activity. Neuroendocrine abnormalities associated with aggression and crime are sufficiently similar to those arising from stress to conclude that stress could be their origin. Both classes of abnormalities, those associated with violence or crime and those arising from stress, involve the neuroendocrine systems mediating adaptation. Loss of adaptive or coping ability can render a person less resilient and less able to resist the factors that may lead them to seek illegal shortcuts to satisfaction of needs and desires, or to vent negative emotions in an aggressive or violent way. If the TM program removes or reverses such abnormalities, as suggested, then the result of practicing this program would be a more optimal functioning of adaptive mechanisms. Resilient adaptation can occur even in the type of high-risk environment characterized as family instability, high poverty level, and low maternal education, all risk factors for illegal activity. The role of the TM program in rehabilitation appears to be supported by findings in the realm of neuroendocrine physiology. 1 figure, 1 note
Main Term(s): Behavior under stress; Transcendental meditation
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Emotional disorders; Psychological stress evaluator; Self-help programs; Stress assessment; Stress management
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