Wahbeh, H., Yount, G., Vieten, C., Radin, D., & Delorme, A. (2022, January). Exploring Personal Development Workshops’ Effect on Well-Being and Interconnectedness. Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, 28(1), 87-95.
Introduction: Personal development workshops are increasingly popular. This study evaluated the relationships between the measures of well-being, interconnectedness, and extended perception in various workshops and explored which kinds of workshops and individual characteristics predicted changes in these outcomes.
Materials and Methods: In a prospective, uncontrolled, within-participant design study, adult participants completed questionnaires and online tasks before and after personal development workshops. Three analyses were conducted: (1) examining the relationships between measures by using only pre-workshop measures using Spearman correlations; (2) exploring change scores pre- to post-workshop and workshop using Wilcoxon signed-rank test; (3) assessing workshop format and content, and individual characteristics as predictors of those change scores multivariate nonparametric regression. The following outcomes were collected: Well-being—Arizona Integrative Outcomes Scale, positive and negative affect, Dispositional Positive Emotions Scale—Compassion subscale, Sleep Quality Scale, Numeric Pain Rating Scale; Interconnectedness—Cloninger Self-Transcendence Scale, Inclusion of Nature in Self and Inclusion of the Other in Self; and Extended perception tasks—Intuition Jar, Quick Remote Viewing, Psychokinesis Bubble, and Time Estimation. The following potential predictor variables were collected: demographic, mental health, psychiatric and meditation history, Single General Self-Rated Health Question, Brief Five-Factor Inventory-10, and the Noetic Experience and Belief Scale. Workshop leaders also selected which format and content characteristics applied to their workshop.
Results: Interconnectedness measures were significantly and positively correlated with well-being (ρ: 0.27 to 0.33), positive affect (ρ: 0.20 to 0.27), and compassion (ρ: 0.21 to 0.32), and they were negatively correlated with sleep disturbance (ρ: −0.13 to −0.16) and pain (ρ: −0.11 to −0.16). Extended perception task performance was not correlated with interconnectedness or well-being. General personal development workshops improved subjective interconnectedness, well-being, positive emotion, and compassion, and they reduced sleep disturbances, negative emotion, and pain (all p’s < 0.00005). The lecture (p = 0.03), small groups (p = 0.001), pairs (p = 0.01), and discussion (p = 0.03) workshop formats were significant predictors of well-being outcomes. The workshop content categories of meditation (p = 0.0002) and technology tools (p = 0.01) were also predictive of well-being outcomes, with meditation being the most consistent predictor of positive well-being changes. Conscientiousness was the only significant individual characteristic predictor (p = 0.002), although it was associated with increases in some well-being measures and decreases in others.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence for the positive relationship between the subjective sense of interconnectedness and multiple well-being measures and the beneficial effects of some personal development workshops.