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Changes in Self-Concept, Ego Defense Mechanisms, and Religiosity Following Seven-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreats

Tipawadee Emavardhana and Christopher D. Tori
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 194-206
DOI: 10.2307/1387552
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387552
Page Count: 13
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Changes in Self-Concept, Ego Defense Mechanisms, and Religiosity Following Seven-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreats
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Abstract

To enhance psychological adjustment, Vipassana meditation assists individuals to perceive the transitory nature of the self. Because the consequences of this potentially troubling insight are not well understood, changes in self-concept and ego defense mechanisms of two cohorts (N1=222, N2=216) of young (M = 18.03 years) Thai participants who attended separate seven-day Vipassana meditation retreats and a nontreated control group (N = 281) were compared. Multivariate statistical analysis revealed positive gains in all areas of self-representation among meditators relative to controls (p < .001). Ego defense mechanisms of the meditation participants also underwent significant change (p < .0001) with coping becoming characterized by greater maturity and tolerance of common stressors. Increases in Buddhist beliefs were significantly correlated with heightened self-esteem and less impulsiveness (ps < .001). Theoretical and applied implications of the findings are discussed.

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