Prevalence, patterns, and predictors of meditation use among US adults: A nationally representative survey

Holger Cramer, Helen Hall, Matthew Leach, Jane Frawley, Yan Zhang, Brenda Leung, Jon Adams, Romy Lauche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging evidence suggests substantial health benefits from using meditation. While there are some indications that the popularity of meditation is increasing, little is known about the prevalence, patterns, and predictors of meditation use in the general population. In this secondary analysis of data from the 2012 US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (n = 34,525), lifetime and 12-month prevalence of meditation use were 5.2% and 4.1%, respectively. Compared to non-users, those who had used meditation in the past 12 months were more likely to be 40–64 years, female, non-Hispanic White, living in the West, at least college-educated, not in a relationship, diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions, smoking, consuming alcohol and physically active. Meditation was mainly used for general wellness (76.2%), improving energy (60.0%), and aiding memory or concentration (50.0%). Anxiety (29.2%), stress (21.6%), and depression (17.8%) were the top health problems for which people used meditation; 63.6% reported that meditation had helped a great deal with these conditions. Only 34.8% disclosed their use of meditation with a health provider. These findings indicate that about 9.3 million US adults have used meditation in the past 12 months; and that mental health problems were the most important reason for meditation use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36760
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2016


  • epidemiology

Cite this