Positive psychological functioning in long-term practitioners of highest yoga tantras

Emily Jane Wolf, Fordham University


The purpose of this study entailed examining psychological functioning in long-term practitioners of Tibetan Buddhist tantra. While recent meditation research has explored the psychological effects of general meditation (i.e., mindfulness) no studies have examined the long term psychological correlates and potential effects of tantric meditation practice. Data was collected via online surveys from participants who identified themselves as tantric practitioners (n= 83), participants with general meditation experience (n = 40), and participants with no meditation experience (n= 21). Years of tantric practice (Experience), average weekly tantric practice (Average Practice), and Quality of tantric practice (Quality) was hypothesized to be positively associated with higher overall psychological well-being (PWB), subscales of emotional intelligence (EI), positive affect (PA), basic positive emotions (PE), and self-transcendence, and negatively associated negative affect (NA) and basic negative emotions (NE). Pearson correlations were conducted to test these relationships. All three meditation variables demonstrated significant positive correlations with self-transcendence, and significant negative correlations with NA, NE, and attention to feelings (EI). Quality also demonstrated positive correlations with overall PWB, clarity of emotions (EI), PA, PE, as well as subscales of PWB. Experience, Average Practice, and Quality were also hypothesized to predict each of the positive psychological variables. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to test these hypotheses. The combination of the meditation variables significantly predicted Self-acceptance (subscale of PWB), clarity of emotions (EI), PA, PE, and self-transcendence. In all regression findings, Quality was the only predictor coefficient significantly related to the psychological variables. Last, MANOVAs were conducted to test the hypotheses that groups based on meditation experience as well as groups based on average practice will explain differences in psychological variables. Results indicated significant main effects for differences among Experience and Average Practice groups. The current study provided empirical evidence on the importance and impact of quality in meditative practices, demonstrated distinctions in psychological functioning between tantric meditators and non-tantric participants, examined an advanced method of meditation practice that has not been researched extensively, and added to current understanding of the psychological science in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist practices.

Subject Area

Personality psychology|Physiological psychology

Recommended Citation

Wolf, Emily Jane, "Positive psychological functioning in long-term practitioners of highest yoga tantras" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3461906.