Effect of Meditation on Emotional Intelligence and Perceived Stress in the Workplace

A Randomized Controlled Study



Research highlights the role of emotional intelligence and perceived stress as important factors associated with mental and physical health and organizational effectiveness.


To determine whether a mind-body technique, the Transcendental Meditationa (TM) program, delivered in the context of a workplace wellness program, could significantly decrease perceived stress and improve emotional intelligence in government employees.


Ninety-six central-office staff at the San Francisco Unified School District were randomly assigned to either an immediate start of the TM program or to a wait-list control group.

Main Outcome Measures

The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory and the Perceived Stress Scale were administered at baseline and at 4-month posttest.


Findings indicate a significant increase in emotional intelligence total score (p < 0.003) and a significant decrease in perceived stress (p < 0.02) in TM participants compared with controls. A significant increase in general mood, stress management, adaptability, intrapersonal awareness, and reality testing composite scales for emotional intelligence were observed (p < 0.05); a significant increase was not observed in the interpersonal scale. Compliance with meditation practice was high (93%). Because of the sex composition in this study, results are most generalizable to female employees.


The TM program was effective as a workplace wellness program to improve emotional intelligence and reduce perceived stress in employees.

Permanente Journal 2018

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