Personality and health characteristics of Cambodian undergraduates: a case for student development

Fergusson, Lee C. and Bonshek, Anna J. and Boudigues, Jean-Michel (1995) Personality and health characteristics of Cambodian undergraduates: a case for student development. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 22 (4). pp. 308-319. ISSN 0094-1956


This study examines the impact of a Vedic-Science based Education on personality and health. Students from three institutions of higher learning in Cambodia, Institute of Economic Science, Phnom Penh University, and MVU, were administered Khmer versions of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Duke Health Profile at the beginning and middle of the 1993 school year. Results indicate the MVU curriculum―which included practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique―significantly influenced state anxiety, trait anxiety, depression, self-esteem and the general health of students, while the curricula of Institute of Economic Science and Phnom Penh University did not. These findings suggest that the MVU curriculum played a significant role in alleviating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and contributed to the personal development of Cambodian undergraduates.

The observation here that “trait anxiety” decreased significantly in MVU students but not in the student populations of two other comparable colleges is of greatest relevance. Anxiety can be either a short term “state” or a long term “trait.” Trait anxiety reflects a stable tendency to respond with state anxiety in the anticipation of threatening situations. It is closely related to the personality trait of neuroticism, and is a key marker of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mental health professionals often have difficulty helping people with this kind of dispositional anxiety. To identify something that helps these students who are predisposed to anxiety is a significant development because anxiety is entrenched in them; they are not merely anxious at any given point in time but are prone to being anxious, even at the most inappropriate moments. Therapy generally does not help these types of people. That is why the effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique in this study is so significant for Cambodian undergraduates and educators; its unique role in higher education has been confirmed in earlier studies of students around the world and recent assessments of the role of Transcendental Meditation in college student populations, including those which looked at depression and sleeplessness, as noteworthy.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: c. Dr. George E. Uhlig.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2018 02:11
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2018 02:11
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maharishi Vedic Science, Cambodia, personality, health, depression, Transcendental Meditation, anxiety
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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