Meditation and psychological health and functioning: a descriptive and critical review

Ireland, Michael (2012) Meditation and psychological health and functioning: a descriptive and critical review. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 9 (1). pp. 4-19. ISSN 1538-4985


Originally designed to promote religious and spiritual development, meditation practices have been the subject of enormous public and scientific interest for decades. Over this time, significant research efforts have documented the many psychological health impacts associated with these practices. This article provides a descriptive and critical review of over 250 published studies, spanning 45 years of research and exploring a diverse range of meditation techniques and health and functioning outcome variables. The research is organized along the lines of meditation technique, samples, and outcome domains with study information (including limitations) summarized in tables. While the vast majority of findings support the effectiveness of meditation practices in cultivating positive psychological health and functioning, supporting conclusions of beneficence, the majority of evidence has emerged from uncontrolled and methodologically limited investigations, thus failing to support conclusions of efficacy. Finally, a review of the state of the science with a number of suggestions for future research is provided. The need for conceptually-driven studies into the nature of meditation as well as theoretically-grounded investigations is highlighted.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright of Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice is the property of Center for Inquiry and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2013 23:41
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2017 05:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: meditation; mindfulness; yoga; health; well-being
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1104 Complementary and Alternative Medicine > 110499 Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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