A Single-Session of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Health-Related behavior change: An Open Trial with a nonconcurrent matched comparison group (Pages 17-26)

Volume 13, July 2019, Pages 17-26


Monica Barreto, Thi Anh Tran, Scott T. Gaynor


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified tobacco use, physical activity, alcohol consumption, nutrition, and sleep as five key health-related behavior domains for chronic disease prevention. Only a minority of the population meet recommended guidelines across all domains. To impact population health it is important to develop interventions that can be simulateously focused, flexible, efficient, and efficacious. Toward this end, we examined the initial efficacy of a single ACT session targeting health-related behavior change. Using an open clinical trial design, 39/40 participants (Mage = 20.64 [2.68], 92% female, 60% white, 20% black) chose one of the five health-related domains to target, received a single ACT session, and completed a 30-day follow-up assessment. Within-group analyses suggested an immediate post-session increase in confidence in making a change (t[39] = −5.70, p < .001, g = 0.63). At follow-up, significant and specific changes were self-reported in the targeted domain (t[38] = −5.36, p < .001, g = 0.67) and in actions taken toward the value of self-care (t[37] = 5.67, p < .001, g = 0.92). Between-group analyses found changes in the targeted domain also exceeded those reported in a nonconcurrent matched comparison group (MCG) of 39 individuals (Mage = 20.08 [1.71], 90% female, 80% white, 15% black) derived from a larger 30-day test-re-test reliability sample (F = 11.77, p = .001, d = 0.65). The evaluation of ACT as a brief intervention is still in a preliminary stage. These initial results are promising and set the stage for subsequent studies.

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