Transcendental Meditation Helps to Alleviate Burnout in Academic Physicians

HealthDay News — Transcendental Meditation is a viable and effective intervention to decrease burnout and depression among academic physicians, according to results of a study published online January 26 in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

Marie Loiselle, PhD, from Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, and colleagues studied the effects of the transcendental meditation technique on academic physician burnout and depression. The analysis included 40 academic physicians (15 specialties) at a medical school and affiliated Veterans Affairs hospital, randomly assigned to transcendental meditation or a control group. The researchers measured physicians on the Maslach Burnout Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, Insomnia Severity Index, Perceived Stress Scale, and Brief Resilience Scale at baseline, 1 month, and 4 months. Qualitative interviews were also conducted at baseline and at 4 months.

The authors observed significant improvements in the transcendental meditation vs the control group at 4 months for total burnout, including the Maslach Burnout Inventory dimensions of emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment, and depression. Findings from qualitative interviews supported quantitative outcomes, with those physicians regularly practicing transcendental meditation reporting relief from classic burnout and depression symptoms reported at baseline. The control group did not show similar changes.

“Larger longitudinal studies with a wider range of health care providers are needed to validate these findings for extrapolation to the greater medical community,” the authors write.

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