Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 56-61

Effectiveness of spiritual augmented psychotherapy on resilience and conscience on juvenile delinquents

1 Department of Psychology, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychology, Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission11-Sep-2022
Date of Decision17-Nov-2022
Date of Acceptance21-Nov-2022
Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pragya Sahare
Shaulana, Dhaulana, Hapur - 245 301, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ym.ym_124_22

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Background: Resilience and conscience are the ability to endure adversity without suffering negative consequences. Psychology and spirituality can both be major assets in building resilience and conscientiousness in juvenile delinquents.
Aims: The present study aims at exploring the effectiveness of psychological and spiritual techniques in mounting psychological resilience and conscience in juvenile offenders.
Methods: The convenience sampling method was used to take 62 respondents for the study. They were chosen from a juvenile shelter home in Haridwar, India. The experimental group, which included 30 participants, received psychospiritual intervention as cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions and Gayatri Mantra Lekhan activity. The control group comprised another 32 volunteers who were assessed using psychometric instruments. Participants were given two psychometric scales named the Child and Youth Resilience Measure and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory for the measurement of resilience and conscientiousness, respectively.
Statistical Analysis Used: The hypotheses were tested using an independent samples t-test.
Results: The experimental group's mean resilience score (mean = 77.93, standard deviation [SD] = 18.28) was statistically significantly greater than the control group's mean resilience score (mean = 44.53, SD = 8.38) with t (60) = 9.35, P = 0.01 (two-tailed). The experimental group's mean conscience score (mean = 35.47, SD = 4.61) is statistically significantly higher than the control group's mean conscience score (mean = 27.34, SD = 6.38) with t (60) =5.71, P = 0.01 (two-tailed).
Conclusions: The study reveals that spiritual augmented psychotherapy is significantly associated with increasing the level of resilience and conscience in the study sample.

Keywords: Conscience, Gayatri mantra, mindfulness meditation, psychospiritual study, resilience

How to cite this article:
Sahare P, Kotnala A. Effectiveness of spiritual augmented psychotherapy on resilience and conscience on juvenile delinquents. Yoga Mimamsa 2022;54:56-61

How to cite this URL:
Sahare P, Kotnala A. Effectiveness of spiritual augmented psychotherapy on resilience and conscience on juvenile delinquents. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jun 7];54:56-61. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Participation in illegal behavior by minors is known as juvenile delinquency.[1] It is also characterized as a young person's habitual perpetrating of criminal acts or offenses, particularly if they are minors. In India, 16 years old are deemed juvenile delinquents in serious offenses under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, which was enacted by the Indian parliament on May 7, 2015. A juvenile delinquent in the United States is a person under the age of 18 who performs an act that would have been prosecuted as a criminal if they were an adult. In India, juvenile crime is a grim reality. As per the 2018 “Crime in India” report, the number of crimes reportedly committed by juveniles was more than 31,000, down almost 6% compared to 2017. More than 99% of the juveniles apprehended for these crimes are boys. Crimes executed by juveniles increased by 30% in India, as per the National Crime Records Bureau report in 2020. The data also revealed that juveniles who lived with their parents were more involved in crimes than homeless ones. Furthermore, it was found that educated minors are more involved in criminal activities. Recent research is focused on the factors that could help young individuals to abstain from the criminal activities. These research studies have indentified some protective factors which could help individuals to cease from the criminal activities. Protective factors are characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor's impact.[2] Psychological resilience and level of conscientiousness are considered one of those protective factors. Psychological resilience is defined as the capacity of the individual to effectively modulate and monitor an ever-changing complex of desires and reality constraints.[3] Simply, it is the ability to bounce back from some real and experienced adversity.[4] Resilience is a widely studied concept that has important and significant implications for the development of delinquency prevention and intervention programs,[5] and it is important to recognize that youth in trouble have strengths and are capable of becoming resilient.[6] Recently, a large number of researches revealed that a lack of conscience is also associated with increased delinquent behavior. Conscientiousness is the root from which personal commitment, social responsibility, accountability, honesty, and integrity arise to make the individual become morally and ethically good. These attributes help the individual in relating oneself with parents, close relatives, and others in the family, neighborhood, society, and nation. Previous research has shown that a lack of morality and delinquent behavior in children is caused by a lack of discipline in children, i.e., the absence of the conditioning process that forms a conscience, which is caused either by an inability to form a conscience due to a specific personality structure or the presence of negative socialization influences.[7],[8],[9]

Psychology and spirituality can aid in the development of resilience and developing a level of conscience. Psychologists have found that a spiritual outlook makes humans more resilient.[10] Researchers conclude that increased resilience and pleasant emotions are linked to healthy spirituality, and that resilience and positive emotions may have a reciprocal effect on one another.[11] The problem of the current study is defined in light of these facts. The present study aims at exploring the effectiveness of psychological and spiritual techniques in mounting the psychological resilience and conscience in juvenile offenders so that chance of relapse (involvement again in delinquent behavior) could be reduced. The assumptions of this empirical study are (1) if resilience and conscience are defined as the ability to endure adversity without suffering negative consequences, then youth who have been arrested or detained would be required to develop an optimal level of resilience and conscience, (2) youth in trouble have strengths and are capable of becoming resilient and developing a conscience, and (3) psychology and spirituality can both be major assets in building psychological resilience and conscientiousness in juvenile delinquents.

  Methods Top


Convenience sampling method

A nonprobability sampling approach was used to take a total of 62 respondents for the study. The study comprised juvenile delinquents who satisfied the study's inclusion and exclusion criteria. They were chosen from a juvenile shelter home in Haridwar, India. The experimental group, which included 30 participants, received psychospiritual intervention in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions and Gayatri Mantra (GM) Lekhan activity. The second group, the control group, comprised another 32 volunteers who were merely given psychometric instruments.

Inclusion criteria

  1. Participants should be between the ages of 10 and 16 years
  2. Individuals must be sufficiently literate to be able to write
  3. Individuals should be able to speak in Hindi and understand it
  4. Individuals should volunteer to help with the initiative.

Exclusion criteria

  1. Psychosis, mental retardation, drug addiction, or personality disorders have all been reported in the past
  2. Involvement in systematic psychotherapy or spiritual activities in the past or present.

Design of the study

Present study was conducted with quasi experimental design. Participants who chose to participate were placed in the experimental group, whereas those who declined were placed in the control group. Before completing post–post analysis, both groups' preintervention assessment scores on dependent variables were “matched.”

Assessment tool

In this investigation, the following psychological questionnaires were used:

  1. Child and Youth Resilience Measure-28 (CYRM-28)
  2. NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI).

Child and Youth Resilience Measure-28

The CYRM-28 is a cross-cultural questionnaire intended as a screening tool to investigate the resources (individual, contextual, and caregiver) accessible to youth aged 9–23 years old that promote their resilience in the long term.[12] The original version of the CYRM has adequate reliability with Cronbach's alpha scores for designated subsets of questions. It is as follows: individual (0.84), relational (0.66), community (0.79), and culture (0.71). All items are reliable measures of resilience across cultures. Internal reliability ranged from 0.65 to 0.91 is acceptable in all cases. Moreover, the interclass correlation coefficients show high values ranging from 0.583 to 0.773. It also has good content-related validity.

NEO Five-Factor Inventory

The NEO-FFI is a self-report measure of personality traits that contribute to the five-factor model, a prominent personality model.[13] There are five 12-item scales in all, one for each domain. Each of the measure's items is scored on a five-point Likert scale. The NEO-FFI was used in this study only for measuring conscientiousness (C). The validity and internal consistency of the NEO-FFI on C domain are 0.87 and 0.81, respectively. The Hindi version (Form S) of this test was applied.


A total of 84 juvenile delinquents from a Haridwar-based institution were examined for participation in the study. Four delinquents were omitted from the research because they did not match the inclusion criteria, and 15 minors were rejected to participate at all. The remaining 65 children were given two separate measures, the CYRM and the NEO-FFI, to assess their resilience and conscientiousness, respectively. At this stage, the findings were considered pretest scores. Only 30 children out of 65 expressed an interest in participating in CBT sessions with GM Lekhan. The remaining 35 children were assigned to the control group.

Each participant in the experimental group received CBT sessions (which included insight-oriented therapy and mindfulness meditation) as well as GM Lekhan. The intervention course was successfully completed by all 30 participants. To establish the “matching” on preintervention evaluation scores, three participants (out of 35) were eliminated from the control group. After completion of intervention, CYRM and NEO-FFI were administered to all 62 individuals once again to record the post test data [Figure 1].
Figure 1: The number of cases screened and allocation of cases in the experimental and control groups, preintervention evaluation, treatment conditions, and postintervention assessment are all depicted in the participant's flow diagram

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  Results Top

The effectiveness of the psychospiritual intervention was determined by comparing the postintervention evaluation scores of the experimental group, which underwent 20 sessions of psychospiritual intervention, with the control group. The hypotheses were tested using an independent samples t-test. As required by the control group study designs, “matching” of preintervention assessment scores on dependent variables was achieved for both groups before completing the principal statistical analysis.

Matching of pretest scores on dependent measures

An independent samples t-test was used to examine the significance of mean differences in each dependent variable between the experimental and control groups at the preintervention stage to see if they were similar. Dependent variables, resilience, and conscience have t-values that are smaller than the crucial t-value at df = 63, P > 0.01 as per [Table 1]. As a result, there is no statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups' mean scores on any dependent measure at the preintervention time point. As a result, in the postintervention stage, both groups are comparable.
Table 1: Pretest mean scores on resilience and conscience

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Effect of psychospiritual intervention on resilience and conscience

Posttest mean scores on resilience between the experimental and control group

Hypothesis 1

There will be no significant difference in the outcome measures of resilience between the experimental group and control group.

Data were normally distributed, hence, the parametric test; an independent t-test was used to evaluate the hypothesis. The null hypothesis was rejected, as shown in [Table 2], with t (60) = 9.35, P = 0.01 (two-tailed). As a result, the experimental group's mean resilience score (mean = 77.93, standard deviation [SD] = 18.28) is statistically significantly greater than the control group's mean resilience score (mean = 44.53, SD = 8.38). The psychospiritual intervention appears to be linked to increased resilience in juvenile delinquents.
Table 2: Result of t-test on resilience for the experimental and control group

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Posttest scores on conscience between the experimental and control group

Hypothesis 2

There will be no significant difference in the outcome measures of conscience between the experimental group and control group.

Data were normally distributed; hence, the parametric test; an independent t-test was used to evaluate the hypothesis. The null hypothesis was rejected, as shown in [Table 3], with t (60) = 5.71, P = 0.01 (two-tailed). As a result, the experimental group's mean conscience score (mean = 35.47, SD = 4.61) is statistically significantly higher than the control group's mean conscience score (mean = 27.34, SD = 6.38). The psychospiritual intervention is linked to the development of conscience in juvenile delinquents.
Table 3: Result of t-test on conscience for the experimental and control group

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  Discussion Top

Children who are not loved and cared enough, often tend to engage in criminal activities and lack opportunities of socializing. The constant struggle for survival may set in a kind of rebellious nature, defying parents, and getting frustrated due to scorn, wrath, disapproval, punishments, and other such negative reinforcements on a continuous basis. Such a child gets to learn deviant behavior. Over a period, as they enter preadolescence, they get into antisocial and unethical or unlawful conduct, leading to further scorn and wrath from society. By the time they are adolescents, they are found to have no conscience and start blaming society for their bad behavior. Furthermore, these juvenile delinquents lacked the psychological resilience to deal with their circumstances properly.

The present study indicates that greater resilience and greater conscience in the experimental group are significantly associated with exposure to the psychospiritual intervention. The presence of protective factors is the fundamental difference between those who adapt effectively despite hazards and others who end up in maladaptation. Internal protective characteristics such as optimism, self-efficacy, and active coping are all associated with better health.[14] Resilient children are able to overcome adversity, such as growing up in a home with a mentally ill member, being mistreated, or having criminally engaged parents.[15] Spirituality can persuade the sense of belongingness, humanity, and purpose for being in the individual as well as the community.[16] Forming a spiritual relationship with the environment allows these children to feel connected to the rest of the world. Religion appears to promote mental prosperity by strengthening connections, providing good regulations, and allowing individuals to find solutions to questions about reason and the meaning of life.[17]

Several survey studies have shown that spirituality can affect various components of emotional well-being.[18],[19],[20],[21] In a pilot research, with five adolescent boys aged 16–18 years efficiency of psychospiritual meditation on emotional intelligence and mental resilience was investigated. The 21-day program includes yoga, super brain yoga, meditations, CBT, cognitive restructuring with mindfulness, and group therapy. Researchers discovered that a spiritually enriched psychotherapy training program improves psychological resilience and emotional intelligence in juvenile delinquents.[22]

In the present study, the participants were asked to write GM in a booklet in each session; they wrote 33 mantras. According to studies, reciting mantras has a good influence on the body's physiological and psychological processes. Gayatri is a mantra that means “honest wisdom and intellect.” It suggests that the Almighty God may educate our minds, leading us along a road that is noble and good.[23] Additionally, GM is known to motivate divine ethics in an individual. The GM, we ruminate over the brilliance of that being who has delivered this universe, may He illuminate our psyches and inspire our understanding.[24] Chanting or writing the GM develops dhi-shakti, or intellectual or mental capacity, as well as viveka.[25] Masters of Mantra Vidya recognize that words are pronounced through a variety of mouth parts, including the neck (larynx), tongue, teeth, lips, and the root of the tongue. During the speech, nerve fibers from the parts of the mouth that produce sound go to various parts of the body, placing pressure on the corresponding glands. When a person's glands become damaged or malfunctioning, he begins to stutter when speaking precise words. In the human body, there are several big and tiny, visible and invisible glands. Yogis are aware that these glands contain unique energies; the Sushumna's Shat Chakras (six energy centers) are well-known, but there are several more glands of similar sort throughout the body. Varied words have different effects on different glands, and as a result of this influence, the energy of these glands is awakened. On this foundation, mantras have been composed. In the GM, there are 24 letters that correspond to 24 glands in the body that, when aroused, activate, and awaken the forces of righteous wisdom. The sitar of the Sadhak's subtle (Sookshma) body begins to play as he utters GM, tinkling at 24 spots and producing sound waves that affect essential parts of the intangible universe. Through Gayatri Sadhana, this gets more and more obvious and palpable. In a study, students chanted the GM for 10 min once a day, early in the morning for 16 weeks. Students' spatial and verbal memory scores improved significantly after reciting the GM.[26]

Mindfulness is the psychological phenomenon of focusing on one's encounters happening right now, which can be created through the act of reflection. It additionally upgrades positive feelings through familiarity with good states. A predictable utilization of mindfulness reflection retrains intellectual cycles of the psyche and biological associations in the cerebrum steadily.[27] Mindfulness CBT is being fully aware and totally mindful of the full scope of encounters that exist in the present time and place.[28] Mindfulness meditation can possibly be a fundamental apparatus in a juvenile's battle adjacent to stress, and furthermore may have positive formative impacts.[29] It has appeared to lessen nervousness, stress, reactivity, and awful conduct, improve rest and self-esteem and achieve more noteworthy harmony, unwinding, the capacity to oversee feelings and conduct, self-awareness, and compassion.[30] Adequate scientific evidence suggests that the practice of mindfulness meditation strengthens moral control and may help people avoid unwanted thoughts. Neurobiological studies and functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain have shown that mindfulness meditation affects those areas of the brain involved in self-regulation[31] and enhances attention and emotional self-regulation[32] Self-regulation are neuronal processes where humans monitor their own behavior, judge it in relation to circumstances and moral values, and thus, regulate their actions.[33],[34]

During the insight orientation counseling session, the participants are encouraged to speak their minds, especially share their personal feelings that they had got in listening and discussing the various aspects of moral education, ethics, and behavior. The theory behind this session is that changing someone's perception of themselves, their behaviors, or the environment around them can lead to a good change in their lives. The remarkable attributes of criminal offender parties are self-justificatory intuition, distortion of expressive gestures, removal of fault, insufficient moral reasoning, patterns of dominance, and entitlement.[35],[36] CBT is helpful in assisting delinquents to overcome from mental misery and psychological distress. All through this cycle, the delinquents obtain coping techniques just as improved aptitudes of suitable dynamic, basic reasoning, self-assuredness, and relational abilities. The most broadly utilized ways to deal with treatment in juvenile justice today are various dynamics of CBT.[37] It offers a convincing approach to the emotional, social, and behavioral problems of children and adolescents with antisocial personalities, and there is considerable evidence for its effectiveness.[38],[39]

  Conclusions Top

The study concludes that the CBT along with GM Lekhan is significantly associated with increasing level of resilience and conscience in juvenile delinquents.

Financial support and sponsorship

This study was financially supported by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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