The effects of exercise and mindfulness meditation on perceived stress, coping styles and locus of control

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Chedzey, Lorne
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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An increase in perceived stress levels is seen to be a major factor in a person's quality of life (Brown & Siegel, 1988; Folkins & Sime, 1981). Meditation and exercise have been suggested in previous research as two interventions to reduce perceived stress levels (Weyerer & Kupfer, 1994; Astin, 1997; Janowiak & Hackman, 1994). All participants selected (N=67) met the criteria of not partaking in either physical exercise or meditation three months previously to the commencement of this research. Participants were rated on the Brief Cope scale (Carver, 1997), Internal-external locus of control scale (Rotter, 1966) and the Perceived Stress scale (Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelstein, 1983) on two occasions, over a period of four weeks. An examination into the effects of these interventions in relation to scores on these three scales was then conducted. Results indicated a significant reduction in perceived stress levels for both meditation and exercise interventions (t (66) = 8.788, p<.05, 2 tailed) with meditation indicating to be more effective than exercise (t (66) = -2.197, p<.05, 2 tailed). Interestingly, additional results indicated that both smoking and alcohol consumption were seen as significant factors in reducing the positive stress reducing effects of both interventions. It was concluded that both exercise and meditation were to be seen as effective interventions for reducing perceived stress levels.