A longitudinal study of students' perceptions of using deep breathing meditation to reduce testing stresses

Author: Paul G//Elam B//Verhulst SJ
Medical Dental Preparatory Program, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4323, USA. rpaul@siumed.edu
Conference/Journal: Teach Learn Med.
Date published: 2007
Other: Volume ID: 19 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 287-92 , Word Count: 137

BACKGROUND: Stress can impact student performance. Yet few medical schools provide students with a consistent opportunity to develop and regularly practice stress reduction techniques to aid them academically. DESCRIPTION: A curriculum component designed to assist 64 postbaccalaureate minority students in developing and practicing a stress-management technique was implemented on a regular basis from June 2004 to April 2006. Students participated in Deep Breathing Meditation exercises in two classes and completed pre-, post-, and follow-up surveys each academic year. EVALUATION: Students reported having perceptions of decreased test anxiety, nervousness, self-doubt, and concentration loss, using the technique outside of the two classes, and believing it helped them academically and would help them as a physician. CONCLUSIONS: The Deep Breathing Meditation technique was successfully implemented each academic year, and it provided students with a promising solution for meeting challenging academic and professional situations.