Meditation and social predictors of tolerance



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The purpose of these studies was to investigate how meditation and other social factors impact tolerance and diversity. Since there is a relationship between tolerance and diversity, the first study investigated the diversity of meditation practice and what social categories are more likely to predict frequent meditation (DV) using the Pew Religious Landscape data (n=28,025). The study combined two approaches: binary logistic regression (BLR) and descriptive statistics. The BLR revealed that people who are older, more educated, Black, Hispanic, conservative, or have lower income are all more likely to engage in weekly meditation. Nevertheless, the composition of meditators revealed that the most common weekly meditator would be a White woman (40s – 50s), without a college degree, below the median income, who is Christian, politically independent, and conservative. Additionally, descriptive statistics also revealed there are about three to twenty times more White weekly meditators than any other race, depending on the race. The second study (n=14,555) more directly investigated the relationship of meditation and social categories with tolerance, using a custom diversity tolerance scale (DTS), Pew data, and an OLS regression. The literature suggested meditation would have a substantial positive impact on tolerance, independent of social categories, and this study suspected it would not. The findings confirmed meditation was associated with small decreases in tolerance. Other variables related to political ideology/ party, religion, and demographics predicted larger changes in tolerance, with conservative being associated with the largest decrease and Buddhists associated with the largest increase. The findings suggested meditation and mindfulness could be detrimental to diversity and tolerance, made recommendations to mitigate this effect, offered alternatives to changing tolerance, and made suggestions for future research.



Sociology, Public and Social Welfare