Studies Underway that We Know About

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Projects underway or recently completed that we know about

Frank Bond has completed and is writing up two replications and extensions of the Bond and Bunce 2000 study

Fredrick Livheim ( has conducted a randomized prevention trial with ACT in a school setting. Sigificantly better stress outcomes including at a 6 month follow up

Heather Nash who was at University of Alaska, has relocated to Las Vegas. She has a study of ACT with eating disorders using a multiple baseline

John Forsyth and Maria Karekla (University of Albany) ran a small RCT comparing an Acceptance Framed version of Panic Control Therapy vs. a "treatment as usual" version of Panic Control Therapy for persons suffering from panic disorder. The results are being written up. Persons in the ACT Framed condition were  less likely to drop out of treatment just prior to interoceptive exposure compared with the TAU condition.

John Forsyth and Sean Sheppard (University at Albany) are about to submit a write up of a large RCT comparing the effectiveness of The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety in a National and International sample of people who view their anxiety and fear as a significant problem for them.

John Forsyth, Ed Hickling, Dan Silverman have conducted an effectiveness study evaluating a half day ACT workshop for people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The study includes pre-workshop assessment and a 3 month follow-up, plus a treatment seeking MS control group that did not get the workshop. The workshop significantly reduced depression (from moderate-to-severe range to mild range), thought suppression, and pain interference on quality of life.

Similar ACT-based anxiety protocols are being tested by Jill Levitt, and by Eifert, Forsyth, & Craske

Branstetter, A., Wilson, K. G., & Mutch, D. G. (August 2003). ACT and the treatment of psychological distress among cancer patients. Paper given at the World Conference on ACT, RFT, and the New Behavioral Psychology, Linköping, Sweden. Large randomized trial showing that ACT is more helpful than traditional CBT in dealing with end stage cancer and works through a different process. Under revie

Randomized trial underway on ACT for command hallucinations in Australia. Under the direction of Fran Shawyer at the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria. email:

Julieann Pankey has found that the AAQ is highly correlated with complicated grieving.
Dosheen Cook has found that the AAQ-heath relationship is the same in Asian as in Caucasian populations

Meyer, B., & Chow, L. (2003, June). Preference for experiential/mindfulness versus rational/cognitive Therapy: The role of information processing styles and sociopolitical attitudes. Poster presented at the annual convention of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. Weimar, Germany. Found that ACT was preferred by liberals … conservative preferred CBT. You can get this manuscript from

Greco, Dew, & Blomquist have a small uncontrolled pilot-feasibility study currently underway examining the impact of ACT for adolescents with chronic abdominal pain, anxiety, and depression (current enrollment = 10 teens/parents).

Greco has examined willingness and experiential avoidance among children who experience chronic abdominal pain and persistent headaches. Unpublished as of yet. After controlling for gender, age, and pain frequency, duration, and severity, higher levels of acceptance predicted life quality (Beta = .38), and experiential avoidance/fusion predicted greater use of school medical services and school restrooms during class time (Betas = .24 and .23, respectively), lower quality of life (Beta = -.49), higher anxiety (Beta = .64), and lower teacher-rated academic competence (Beta = -.29).

Greco, Dew, & Baer have a manuscript underway that presents psychometric properties of the Willingness and Action Measure (WAM), Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire (AFQ), and Child Acceptance and Mindfulness Measure (CAMM). Findings suggest that the WAM and CAMM correlate positively with positive functioning, whereas scores on the AFQ correlate positively with physical and emotional symptoms and school disability.

Greco & Russell (2004) evaluated the short-term effects of participating in a summer camp for diabetic youth and investigated the extent to which psychological acceptance moderated children’s response to camp. Psychological acceptance (using the WAM) moderated the relation between pre- and post-camp diabetes self-care behavior, with self-care ratings increasing most when psychological acceptance was high (Beta = .24, p < .05).

Laurie Greco is testing out ACT with eating disorders

Heather Murray, James Herbert, and Evan Forman have a group ACT vs group CBT RCT for Smoking Cessation underway

Laura Ely and Kelly Wilson have a small (n = 10) open trial with college students at risk for drop out. Showed improvements on grades and on many of the subscales of the LASSI (study skills inventory) such as time management and using study aids which were never directly addressed

Claire Keogh is working on an extension of the Masuda
study on defusion. So far the data are consistent with the original.

Claire Keogh, Hilary-Anne Healy have completed a study on the utility of a defusion statement ("I am having the thought that" when presented in the context of positively and negatively evaluated self-referential statements in an automated procedure. Good data

Anne Keogh is comparing acceptance and control as interventions with experimentally induced radiant heat pain. Data is looking good for acceptance. May be a gender diff

Andy Cochrane, is looking at acceptance and a behavioral approach task relevant to spider phobia. All interventions fully automated. No data yet.

Geraldine Scanlon is working with a sample of ADHD kids on self-esteem, trying to replicate the recent study of me-good and me-bad relations published in the Record by Rhonda and Kelly.

Claire Campbell is investigating the PASAT and mirror tracing procedures for stress tolerance and applying ACT interventions to them.

Fodhla Coogan and Loretto Cunningham are looking at experimental analogues of experiential avoidance in the context of equivalence relations and aversive versus positive pictures.

Kevin Vowles and John Sorrell have been piloting a group treatment for chronic pain patients integrating the traditional educational stuff that is often part of psychological treatments for pain (e.g., meds, exercise, nutrition, sleep, communication) with ACT. The treatment consists of eight 90-minute sessions. Data so far look good

Frank Gardner at La Salle has a study being written up that shows that
1. Individuals who score high on measures of anger (STAXI) also score high on experiential avoidance and low on emotion regulation.
2. Individuals who score high on anger AND demonstrate behavioral dysregulation are likely to have a significant aversiove early life history (across multiple domains) unlike those patients with behavior dysregulation with minimal anger. These same patients score much lower on QOLI and a values assessment that we have bveen using as well.-
3. The AAQ predicts early termination from treatment (explaining 51% of the variance)... when directly targeted with a a 10 minute "psychoeducation" about experiential avoidance premature termination (69% of which occurs between intake and session 1) is reduced by 50%.

Jason Luoma at University of Nevada, Reno is conducting a randomized trial comparison an introductory 2-day workshop on ACT to the same workshop plus six sessions of phone consultation on learning ACT.

Brandon Gaudiano is conducting a pilot study of a novel psychosocial treatment integrating behavioral activation and ACT for patients with Major Depressive Disorder, severe with psychotic features.

Jen Plumb and Steven Hayes examined the relationship between personal values and depression using the PVQ (Blackledge & Ciarrochi). Found that depressed individuals were more likely to report low success at living consistently with values across domains than non-depressed individuals, and the discrepancy between values success and importance was related more strongly to psychological functioning in depressed individuals than non-depressed individuals. When depressed individuals were low on success at living consistently with their values they were more likely to endorse pliant and avoidance based reasons for choosing those values than non-depressed controls.

Jen Plumb, Mike Levin and Steven Hayes are examining the potentially motivative effects of values statements on studying behavior in college students. Two studies are underway (data collection phase). One examines self-monitoring of study behavior versus a simple values intervention in addition to self-monitoring. The other examines the differential effects of aversive values motivation (e.g., pliant, avoidant functions) as opposed to appetitive values motivation (e.g., choice, awareness of the reinforcement from living consistent with values) on studying behavior.

JoAnne Dahl and students have RCTs underway in smoking, OCD, and obesity.

JoAnne Dahl has an RCT underway with headache and one with social phobia

Julie Wetherell at UCSD and the VA there (working with Niloo Afari, who recently joined their faculty) have a paper under review comparing ACT to CBT in 100 chronic pain patients.

Nancy Kocovski, Jan Fleming, & Neil Rector (U of Toronto) have an ACT protocol (they call it Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Group Therapy) for social anxiety that is working well and is headed toward a randomized controlled trial

Tobias Lundgren has finished an ACT RCT for adolescents diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. The study involved a 12 week treatment program with a 2 months follow up. Significant interaction effects were found on depression, anxiety and stress scales in favor of the treatment group. Furthermore, significant interaction effects were found on attention ability and teacher ratings on troublesome behavior as compared to a waiting list.

Study underway by Andrew Gloster and colleagues at the Institute of Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy in Dresden, Germany, grant funded by the German government entitled: What Should We Do When CBT for Panic/Agoraphobia Fails: ACT! The goal is to test whether ACT can help those patients who are categorized as non-responders following an intense course of CBT.

Studies underway at the School of Psychology, University of Wollongong

1) Billich, Ciarrochi, & Deane have completed a wait-list control trial of ACT with the NSW police. The research suggests that ACT improves mental health, at least in the short run. We are writing this up for publication (This is funded by the Australian Research Council)

2) Fisher and Ciarrochi are conducting a cross-sectional study on personal values and quality of life amongst clients with Cancer. We are examining whether people have better adjustment and mental health when they tend to hold values for authentic reasons (e.g., vitality) rather than controlled reasons (e.g., external pressure), and when they tend to succeed at authentically held values.

3) Ciarrochi and Bailey (in press) have developed a new measure that is designed to aid values clarification. The measure is called the Survey of Life Principles (SLP), and is currently being evaluated in a number of studies. Stefanic and Ciarrochi are examining the psychometric properties of the SLP. Frearson & Ciarrochi are evaluating it in the context of couples satisfaction. Bayliss and Ciarrochi are evaluating it in the context of the police force.

4) Bayliss and Ciarrochi have done a small longitudinal study amongst NSW police recruits, following them from police recruit (Time 1) to one year in the police force (Time 2). Mindfulness, low experiential avoidance, and emotion identification skill were significant predictors of mental health at Time 2, even after controlling for mental health at Time 1. We are in the process of writing this up. (This is funded by the Australian Research Council)

5) We are now in the seventh year of a large longitudinal study of adolescents (now aged 17). Supavadeeprasit and Ciarrochi are preparing a manuscript that looks at experiential avoidance (in grade 8) predicting future social and emotional well-being. Jordan & Ciarrochi have also been looking at the measurement of mindfulness amongst adolescents and its ability to predict future levels of social and emotional well-being (The longitudinal study is been funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council).

6) Ciarrochi, Lane, & Blackledge have developed an internet-based ACT intervention for people diagnosed with cancer. We are in the process of evaluating its efficacy. (This has been funded by the NSW Cancer Council).

Judith Wetherell at UCSD has a trial on ACT for geriatric GAD

Gerhard Andersson has an RCT completed on ACT for tinnitus

Chris Watson and Christine Purdon at the University of Waterloo, Canada, compared cognitive defusion (using word repetition) to imaginal exposure and no intervention in reducing the believability, distress, and meaningfulness associated with contamination-related thoughts in individuals with high levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Significant reductions in belief, distress, and meaningfulness were observed following defusion but not the other two conditions. At follow up both defusion and exposure produced gains. The loss of verbal meaning in defusion was associated with reductions in appraisal ratings at follow-up.

There is an RCT for lupus being done by Tomás Quirosa and Olga Gutiérrez in Almeria

Annie Umbricht at Johns Hopkins has submitted a grant on ACT and Contingency Management for substance abuse

Jan Blalock has an NIH grant for an RCT on ACT for smoking (as of 2009)

Angie Stotts is nearing completion of her RCT of ACT to help with drug detoxification. Good effect sizes ... on the edge p value wise (ah the joys of low power)

Michelle Sheets, a Ph.D. student at Hofstra University, and Yulia Landa at Cornell Medical College has a trial on ACT for delusions underway at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Contact:

Rhonda Merwin posted on 5/21/2014:

My colleagues (Timko, Zucker) and I have completed an open trial of adolescent anorexia nervosa (N = 47) - there were nice outcomes - remission rates were similar to Family Based Treatment (Maudsley). The preliminary paper is out- the main paper will be out soon.

My colleagues (Bigatti et al.) and I have completed an small RCT (N = 28) comparing ACT to an educational control for fibromyalgia-- data supported some unique positive outcomes for ACT. Manuscript in progress.


Jean Fournier has several studies coming on ACT for high level athletes in France

Jane Morton, Sharon Snowden, and Michelle Gopold in Melbourne have an RCT on ACT for BPD … under review right now

Michele Craske at UCLA has a couple of large ACT vs. CBT projects with anxiety disorders. The first one, with Joanna Arch as senior author, is under submission. Similar outcomes ….different in a few subgroups; different moderators and mediators

Niloofar Afair at UC San Diego / VA has a VA grant for an RCT of ACT for binge eating

Niloo is also doing a pilot study of ACT for distress and treatment decision-making in early stage prostate cancer patients.

Julie Wetherell at UC San Diego has a VA grant to do a non-inferiority trial comparing ACT in person to ACT in telehealth for chronic pain.

Additional information about research being conducted in Australia and New Zealand can be found here.