Changes of valued behaviors and functioning during an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Intervention

Hanna Wersebe, Roselind Lieb, Andrea H. Meyer, Jürgen Hoyer, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, Andrew T. Gloster


Living in line with one's values is believed to be beneficial for a person's well-being. Working with values in the therapeutic context often reveals that individuals do no live congruent with their chosen values. This study aimed to investigate how patients’ valued behaviors change during an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and how these changes are associated with functioning. Further, this study aimed to examine whether valued behaviors changed depending on pre-treatment levels of symptomatology.

This was a standardized randomized controlled trial with an ACT intervention. Participants were 41 adult patients with treatment-resistant panic disorder. Measurements were completed at pre-treatment, 4-weeks-post-treatment, as well as 6-months after treatment.

The discrepancy between how important something is and how much someone does in accordance to their values decreased across treatment. Higher pre-treatment panic symptomatology led to higher improvements in valued action, compared to lower pre-treatment symptomatology. Yet, all patients reached comparable end-points. Functioning increased over the entire study period and increases in functioning were associated with increases in importance and valued action.

Our study extends prior findings about valued behaviors in ACT by showing that treatment-resistant patients with panic disorder decreased the discrepancy between what is considered important and valued action. Further studies investigating changes in valued behaviors across various diagnoses and treatments are clearly necessary.

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