The researcher made the postulation that Tai chi practice can lower the stress levels in students studying within an academic environment. The research question was 'Can regular Tai chi practice help second year occupational therapy (OT) students with the reduction of stress?' This question was examined by use of a pilot study of a quasi-experimental type, utilising a convenience sample group of full time second year occupational therapy students at Sheffield Hallam University. Eight second year students participated in the five week pilot study; four participated in the tai chi sessions, while the other four were the control group who did not attend the sessions. The method of data acquisition was broadly quantitative and supported by qualitative data where appropriate.

The results showed that the major cause of stress shared by both groups were:

  • a) group work. b) motivation. c) assignments.

The tai chi group showed a decrease in stress levels compared to the control group. Similar studies are very scarce, however studies that have been done with older adults show positive results and conclude that Tai chi can reduce stress and anxiety. Recommendations are that a longitudinal study needs to be incorporated to show validity and provide sufficient data to demonstrate that tai chi can benefit the stress levels of students at university. If you are interested to read the full dissertation, please e-mail me for a copy..
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