Changes in Self-Concept, Ego Defense Mechanisms, and Religiosity Following Seven-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreats
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Format: Journal Article
Library/Archive: Copyright © 1997 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Sources ID: 21872
Zotero Collections: Cultural Belief Contexts, Environmental Context, Classical Buddhist Contemplation Practices, Contemplation by Applied Subject, Contemplation by Tradition, Psychiatry and Contemplation, Psychotherapy and Contemplation, Health Care and Contemplation, Practices of Buddhist Contemplation, Insight (vipashyana, lhaktong), Buddhist Contemplation
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.