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Acceptance and commitment therapy as a school-based group intervention for adolescents: An open-label trial (Pages 71-79)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 16, April 2020, Pages 71-79


Fumito Takahashi, Kenichiro Ishizu, Kohei Matsubara, Tomu Ohtsuki, Yoshiyuki Shimoda


While the effectiveness of sufficient doses (e.g., 12 h) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a school-based universal intervention for adolescents has received support among the scholarly community, less is known about its effectiveness when delivered in a low dose. The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of low dose ACT as a school-based, universal intervention, delivered by a psychologist, on adolescents’ psychological flexibility and emotional/behavioral problems. Adolescents in grade 9 (ages 14 to 15) were allocated to either ACT (n = 67) or wait-list control groups (n = 203). The ACT group received six bi-weekly group ACT sessions (5 h in total). The results showed that ACT reduced avoidance and hyperactivity/inattention. Further analysis conducted for participants with sub-clinical emotional/behavioral problems revealed that, although ACT did not reduce hyperactivity/inattention, it did reduce avoidance. Specifically, results demonstrated the following two correlations between ACT core processes and emotional/behavioral problems: 1) the enhancement of values clarification and committed action and the decrease in hyperactivity/inattention; and 2) the decrease in avoidance, emotional problems, and hyperactivity/inattention. These findings provide support for the effectiveness of ACT as a school-based, group-format universal intervention for adolescents.

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