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The efficacy of group-based acceptance and commitment therapy on psychological capital and school engagement: A pilot study among Chinese adolescents (Pages 134-143)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 16, April 2020, Pages 134-143


Shuanghu Fang, Dongyan Ding



Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has gained strong empirical support in Western countries, but has been less widely used in countries with different cultural contexts, such as China. Furthermore, there are fewer empirical studies examining use of ACT in children, compared to adult populations. Related, positive psychological factors, such as psychological capital and school engagement of adolescents are rarely reported in the literature related to ACT. This study aimed to bridge these gaps in the literature by evaluating the efficacy of an ACT group intervention on Chinese junior high school students’ psychological capital and school engagement.


Participants (N = 35) were randomly assigned to an ACT group or a control group, during which they received either ACT-based courses or courses on Chinese Ideological and Moral Character. All students participated in ten 1-h workshops across five weeks simultaneously. Participants in both groups completed the Utrecht work Engagement Scale-student (UWES-s), Positive Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PPQ), and Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II (AAQ- II) before and after the intervention.


The ACT group showed significant improvement in psychological capital (d = 0.80), school engagement (d = 0.49), and psychological flexibility (d = 0.56) after the intervention, while there were no significant improvements in the control group. The ACT group and the control group showed significant differences in psychological capital (d = 1.40) and school engagement (d = 0.78) after the treatment, with the ACT group demonstrating higher scores across both measures.


These findings indicate that group-based ACT offers a valuable way to promote adolescents’ psychological capital and school engagement. Larger sample size and randomized controlled studies are needed to evaluate the intervention in future.

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