Acceptance and commitment therapy as a treatment for dysphoria

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APA Citation: 

Pellowe, M. E. (2007). Acceptance and commitment therapy as a treatment for dysphoria. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Wyoming.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
dysphoria; commitment therapy; cognitive-behavioral interventions; depression

Despite the demonstrated efficacy of cognitive-behavioral interventions for depression, many individuals do not respond to treatment or demonstrate residual symptoms and impairment after treatment. Some evidence suggests that third-wave behavior therapies that incorporate mindfulness and acceptance, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), are viable alternative interventions that may produce change through unique mechanisms. The present investigation examined the effects of a brief group ACT intervention for treatment of dysphoric symptoms in college students. Fifty-two students endorsing dysphoric symptoms were randomized to either an ACT group (n = 25) or a supportive therapy control group (n = 27). ACT participants exhibited significant pre- to post-intervention improvement with regard to depressive symptoms and psychological flexibility, and they endorsed a higher frequency of depression-related cognitions and attitudes post-treatment compared to baseline assessment. ACT was superior to the supportive therapy control group only with regard to psychological flexibility. The pattern of results seen in this study is consistent with the theory underlying the intervention, as well as with previous clinical trials examining ACT. These findings suggest the potential efficacy of ACT for dysphoria, and highlight the need for future research incorporating longer follow-up, ACT-consistent outcomes, and cognitive-behavioral comparison groups.