Acceptance & Commitment Therapy for ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) – A feasibility study (Pages 89-97)

Volume 12, April 2019, Pages 89-97

Martin A. Jonsjö, Rikard K. Wicksell, Linda Holmström, Anna Andreasson, Gunnar L. Olsson


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has not been evaluated for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) to date. However, recent studies indicate the importance of psychological flexibility for well-being in this condition. The present study is a preliminary evaluation of the feasibility of an ACT-based behavior medicine treatment protocol for ME/CFS.

40 adult individuals, fulfilling the 1994 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the 2003 clinical case criteria for ME/CFS, consecutively started an individual 13-session ACT-treatment. Data were collected pre-treatment, mid-treatment, post-treatment, and at 3- and 6-month follow-ups. Linear mixed effects modeling was used to analyze treatment effects on ME/CFS-related disability, psychological flexibility, ME/CFS symptoms, anxiety, depression and health-related quality of life.

80% (32) of the participants completed the treatment. ME/CFS-related disability (d = 0.80, p < .001) and psychological flexibility (d=1.07, p < .001) improved between pre- and post-treatment and remained stable between follow-ups. Similar results were found for secondary outcomes.

Results indicate that the treatment was accepted by the participants, with a small drop-out rate and was safe with no harmful effects during or after treatment and also efficient with stable improvements in numerous outcomes.

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