An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): A case series approach

Authors:
Lauren Roche, David L. Dawson, Nima G. Moghaddam, Anne Abey, and David M. Gresswell

Abstract:

Objective

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been shown to improve the psychological well-being of individuals suffering from a range of chronic health conditions, and aims to increase psychological flexibility in order to foster greater engagement in personally meaningful behavior. We aimed to assess whether the approach (delivered via guided bibliotherapy) may have utility for individuals experiencing the debilitating effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Methods

We used a mixed-methods multiple single-case design to explore the effects of a six week self-help ACT intervention for six participants diagnosed with CFS.

Results

Significant increases in ratings of valued living were replicated and maintained in four participants, with qualitative data further highlighting the importance of the values component of the intervention. Acceptance scores improved in four participants but were not maintained at follow-up, whereas improvements in psychological flexibility were observed and maintained for three participants. All participants wearing an activity monitor evinced increased physical activity postintervention, which was maintained at follow up in half of the participants.

Conclusion

The ACT self-help intervention appeared to benefit most participants on at least one assessed metric, particularly in terms of the promotion and pursuit of individual values, and increased physical activity. However, the results suggest these benefits may be difficult to maintain longer term without further input.

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