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A pilot study of acceptance and commitment therapy for sexual minorities experiencing work stress (Pages 25-29)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 16, April 2020, Pages 25-29


R. Sonia Singh, Tanya S. Watford, Riley E. Cotterman, William H. O'Brien


Approximately ten million individuals in the United States self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or queer, and comprise 4% of the work force. There are currently no global protections against discrimination based on sexual identify in the workplace. Therefore, several people who identify as sexual minorities may experience discrimination, incivility, and hostility in the work place leading to burnout, as well as poor mental and physical health. Although global policies and protections against discrimination based on gender and sexual identity are needed, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) could provide useful tools at the individual level for sexual minorities experiencing work stress. The current study is a pilot study designed to measure feasibility and acceptability of treatment. Participants were adults (n = 8) who self-identified as sexual minorities, were employed at least half time, and reported experiencing work stress. Participants attended a 4-h ACT session for sexual minorities experiencing work stress. Participants completed process-based measures and symptom-based measures. All measures of feasibility and acceptability indicated that participants found the intervention to be helpful, effective, and insightful. Further, one-tailed paired-samples t-tests indicated significant change for burnout. These results suggest that initial outcomes of the study are promising and encourage further examination of the efficacy of ACT as an intervention for sexual minority employees struggling with work stress. Although it is important to continue to create policy changes against discrimination, ACT may provide skills for sexual minorities to build resilience and increase well-being in an unjust world.

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