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Facilitating Emotional Self-Regulation in Preschool Children: Efficacy of the Early HeartSmarts Program in Promoting Social, Emotional and Cognitive Development

April 4, 2009

Developed by the Institute of HeartMath (IHM), the Early HeartSmarts (EHS) program is designed to train teachers to guide and support young children (3 -- 6 years old) in learning emotional self-regulation and key age-appropriate socioemotional competencies, with the goal of facilitating their emotional, social and cognitive development. This work reports the results of an evaluation study conducted to assess the efficacy of the EHS program in a pilot implementation of the program carried out during the 2006 -- 2007 academic year in schools of the Salt Lake City School District. The study was conducted using a quasi-experimental longitudinal field research design with three measurement moments (baseline and pre- and post-intervention panels) using The Creative Curriculum Assessment (TCCA) instrument, a teacher-scored, 50-item instrument measuring student growth in four areas of development -- social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language development. Children in nineteen preschool classrooms were divided into intervention and control group samples (N = 66 and 309, respectively; mean age = 3.6 years), in which classes in the former were specifically selected to target children of lower socioeconomic and ethnic minority family backgrounds. Overall, there is compelling evidence of the efficacy of the EHS program in increasing total psychosocial development and each of the four development areas measured by the TCCA: the results of a series of ANCOVAs found a strong, consistent pattern of significant differences on the development measures favoring preschool children who received the EHS program over those in the control group who did not.

Reducing Test Anxiety and Improving Test Performance in American's Schools: Summary of Results From The TestEdge National Demonstration Study Executive Summary

December 11, 2007

This Executive Summary provides an overview of the purpose, research methods, and major findings of the TestEdge National Demonstration Study, conducted by researchers at the Institute of HeartMath in collaboration with faculty and graduate students at Claremont Graduate University. The study's primary purpose was to investigate the efficacy of the TestEdge program in reducing stress and test anxiety and improving emotional well-being, quality of relationships, and academic performance in public school students.

Reducing Test Anxiety and Improving Test Performance in American's Schools: Summary of Results From The TestEdge National Demonstration Study

October 27, 2007

This study determined the correlates and consequences of stress and test anxiety in a large sample of students (980) and investigated the effects of HeartMath tools among 636 of them who were part of an experimental group compared to the other 344 who were in a control group. Teachers received instruction in the Resilient Educator(R), which is designed to boost teacher performance, strengthen resiliency and improve school relationships, and students participated in the TestEdge(R) program, which features tools for reducing stress and test anxiety, improving academic performance and enhancing emotional and relational competence.The study tested two major hypotheses:Enhanced competence in emotional management through learning and practicing the TestEdge tools would result in significant improvements in student emotional self-regulation and psychophysiological coherence. These changes would produce a marked reduction in test anxiety and generate a corresponding improvement in academic and test performance.There would be associated improvements in stress management, emotional stability, and overall student well-being, as well as improvements in classroom climate, organization and function.We found consistent evidence of positive effects from the intervention on the students at the intervention school when their stress levels, emotional stability and the results of other measures were compared with those of students at the control school. Students in the experimental group had acquired the ability to self-activate the coherent state prior to taking an important test. This ability to self-activate coherence was associated with significant reductions in test anxiety and corresponding improvements in measures of emotional disposition.

Impact of the Power to Change Performance Program on Stress and Health Risks in Correctional Officers

November 1, 2003

This study investigated the impact of HeartMath's Power to Change Performance stress and health risk reduction program on physiological and psychological stress and health risk factors in a sample of correctional peace officers. Eighty-eight officers from three facilities were randomized to an experimental group and a wait-list control group. The experimental group participated in the stress and health risk reduction program, which was delivered over two consecutive days. The program included instruction on health risk factors as well as training in positive emotion-focused stress reduction techniques intended to reduce negative emotional arousal, improve physiological balance, increase positive affect, and enhance performance. Learning and practice of the techniques was enhanced by heart rate variability feedback, which helped participants learn to self-generate physiological coherence, a beneficial mode associated with increased efficiency and synchronization in the functioning of physiological systems. Measures of physiological and psychological stress and health risk were assessed before the program and again 3 months afterward. The measures included in the health risk assessment were the Personal Wellness Profile self-report survey, which assesses a broad range of health-related information, behaviors, and attitudes; and four biometric markers: height, weight, blood pressure, and total cholesterol levels. Additional measures reflective of physiological stress and overall health included cortisol and DHEA, secretory immunoglobulin A (an immune system marker), HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose levels, a 10-minute resting electrocardiogram, and measures of heart rate variability (an indicator of autonomic function). Three self-report psychological surveys were also included to assess emotional stress and work-related variables.

Impact of a Workplace Stress Reduction Program on Blood Pressure and Emotional Health in Hypertensive Employees

June 25, 2003

This study examined the impact of a workplace-based stress management program on blood pressure (BP), emotional health, and workplace-related measures in hypertensive employees of a global information technology company.

Impact of the HeartMath Self-Management Skills Program on Physiological and Psychological Stress in Police Officers

December 1, 1999

This study explored the impact on a group of police officers from Santa Clara County, California of the HeartMath stress and emotional self-management training, which provides practical techniques designed to reduce stress in the moment, improve physiological and emotional balance, increase mental clarity and enhance performance and quality of life.This study provides evidence that practical stress and emotional self-management techniques can reduce damaging physiological and psychological responses to both acute and chronic stress in police, and positively impact a variety of major life areas in a relatively short period of time. In particular, results show that application of these interventions can produce notable improvements in communication difficulties at work and in strained family relationships, two areas that are well recognized to be major sources of stress for police.

The Effect of Employee Self-Management Training on Personal and Organizational Quality

June 1, 1999

This research examined the effect of an Inner Quality Management (IQM) training program on 54 employees in the Information Technology Services Division of a state agency which was experiencing change-related turmoil. Measures of personal and organizational quality in the trained employees were compared to those of a 64-member comparison group that had not received the training. After the completion of the training, seven weeks from the initial assessment, the study group reported significant decreases in dimensions of negative affect and stress and significant increases in dimensions of positive affect in relation to the comparison group. Also, perceptions of goal clarity and productivity increased significantly. Implications for individual and organizational wellness are discussed.

Music Enhances the Effect of Positive Emotional States on Salivary IgA

July 1, 1996

This study examines the effects of music and positive emotional states on autonomic and immune function in normal, healthy individuals. Autonomic activity was assessed using power spectral density analysis of heart rate variability, and salivary IgA was used as a marker of immunity. The effects of Rock, New Age, and Designer Music were examined alone, and in conjunction with a self-induced positive emotional state. The results indicate that only the Designer Music and the self-induced state of appreciation produced a significant increase in autonomic activity and salivary IgA (S-IgA). In addition, the combination of the Designer Music and the self-induced appreciation produced a much greater immunoenhancement than either of these two conditions alone. We conclude that music can be designed to enhance the beneficial effects of positive emotional states on immunity, and that this effect may be mediated by the autonomic nervous system. These data raise the tantalizing possibility that music and emotional self-management may have significant health benefits in a variety of clinical situations in which there is immunosuppression and autonomic imbalance.

The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Compassion and Anger

June 1, 1995

Salivary IgA, heart rate and mood were measured in thirty individuals before and after experiencing care or anger. Two methods of inducing the emotional states were compared: self-induction and external induction via video tapes. Anger produced a significant increase in total mood disturbance and heart rate, but not in S-IgA levels. Positive emotions, on the other hand, produced a significant increase in S-IgA levels. Examining the effects over a six hour period we observed that anger, in contrast to care, produced a significant inhibition of S-IgA from one to five hours after the emotional experience. Results indicate that self-induction of positive emotional states is more effective at stimulating S-IgA levels than previously used external methods. Self-induction techniques may therefore be useful in minimizing the immunosuppressive effects of negative emotions.