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Case studies of military mothers : an exploratory mixed methods study on the effects of transcendental meditation on parenting stress
Exploratory mixed methods study on the effects of transcendental meditation on parenting stress
xvi, 315 pages : illustrations
The literature of military family resilience has documented increased stress for the military mothers and young children experiencing multiple redeployments. This study examines five case studies of military mothers using mixed methods to explore the effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice after 100 hours of TM on parenting stress, PTSD, sleep deprivation symptoms, life satisfaction, and behavioral changes. The five military mothers met the study's inclusion criterion of serving in active-duty military roles, of having a diagnosis of PTSD (post-traumatic distress disorder), expressing high levels of stress in military life and parenting, having children ranging in age from 1 year to 18 years, living in Southern California during the study, serving as the primary caretaker of their children, and being married to men serving in active-duty roles in the military. All five military mothers were trained in TM and participated in a minimum of 100 hours of TM practice. The five military mothers were pre-and post-assessed using four selected instruments before and after practicing 100 hours of TM. The four instruments used were the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction short form (Q-LES-Q-SF), Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI-SF), Post Traumatic Disorder Military Short Form (PCL-M-SF), and Parent Stress Index (PSI-4SF). In addition, five case studies were developed using semi-structured open-ended questions at pre-and post-entry, and check-in intervals at the 25, 50, 75, 100 hours. As necessary, all of the five participants were provided childcare for the weekly and monthly follow-up sessions. Case studies allowed each of the five military mothers to express their lived experiences during the 100 hours of practicing TM. Based on the data collected with the four valid, reliable, quantitative instruments, the semi-structured interviews completed at four intervals, and the observations of military mothers' behaviors, who practiced 100 hours of TM, findings included: (a) positive life satisfaction increase in their lives, (b) decrease in sleep disorder or improved quality of sleep, (c) decrease in PTSD symptoms, and (d) improved parenting skills. The findings of observations using content analysis suggests that all five military mothers, after 100 hours of TM practice, increased task orientation in daily life activities; showed positive growth in maturity in handling daily family life and relationship issues; improved communication with children and husbands; increased level of assertiveness and voice in making life decisions; maintained TM practice consistency, as they sensed better control of in daily situations and challenges of life; and improved awareness of a parenting style that needed to be more communicative and humanistic in relationship with family members. The use of Transcendental Meditation was found to be an effective method for parents to reduce stressors in military life. The use of TM may improve childcare, childhood development in preschools, K-12 schools, and in teen parenting. Recommendations include: replicating this study with larger sample number; replicating this study with other members of the military family; refining and adding quantitative instruments to measure the stress from PTSD and sleep deprivation of military mothers.
San Diego State University
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University, 2016
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