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Improvements in depression and mental health after acceptance and commitment therapy are related to changes in defusion and values-based action

Improvements in depression and mental health after acceptance and commitment therapy are related to changes in defusion and values-based action
Improvements in depression and mental health after acceptance and commitment therapy are related to changes in defusion and values-based action

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has been found to be effective for various mental health disorders but the processes through which it affects change remain unclear. Much process research in the area is on physical rather than mental health, and focuses on the broad concept of psychological flexibility with little research on specific mechanisms identified in theory such as fusion and values. This study explored whether there was a relationship between two of the main ACT processes (cognitive defusion and values) and levels of depression and distress. Thirty-three participants completed questionnaires at the start and end of their treatment measuring general mental health and distress, depression, levels of cognitive fusion and how much they were living in line with their values and how important their values were to them. Results showed reductions in levels of fusion and increases in values-based action were significantly related to reductions in distress and depression. There was no correlation between changes in values importance and changes in distress or depression. This study therefore suggests decreased defusion and increased values-based action is an important mechanism in the efficacy of ACT in those with depression and mental health problems. The study is however limited by a small sample size and future research with a sample large enough for mediation analysis would be beneficial.

ACT, Depression, Distress, Fusion, Processes, Values
0022-0116
9-14
Bramwell, Kate
a0790f6f-9558-410b-bf40-01e2b10d4588
Richardson, Thomas
cba50728-bf1d-4769-a15e-128e56d08692
Bramwell, Kate
a0790f6f-9558-410b-bf40-01e2b10d4588
Richardson, Thomas
cba50728-bf1d-4769-a15e-128e56d08692

Bramwell, Kate and Richardson, Thomas (2018) Improvements in depression and mental health after acceptance and commitment therapy are related to changes in defusion and values-based action. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 48 (1), 9-14. (doi:10.1007/s10879-017-9367-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has been found to be effective for various mental health disorders but the processes through which it affects change remain unclear. Much process research in the area is on physical rather than mental health, and focuses on the broad concept of psychological flexibility with little research on specific mechanisms identified in theory such as fusion and values. This study explored whether there was a relationship between two of the main ACT processes (cognitive defusion and values) and levels of depression and distress. Thirty-three participants completed questionnaires at the start and end of their treatment measuring general mental health and distress, depression, levels of cognitive fusion and how much they were living in line with their values and how important their values were to them. Results showed reductions in levels of fusion and increases in values-based action were significantly related to reductions in distress and depression. There was no correlation between changes in values importance and changes in distress or depression. This study therefore suggests decreased defusion and increased values-based action is an important mechanism in the efficacy of ACT in those with depression and mental health problems. The study is however limited by a small sample size and future research with a sample large enough for mediation analysis would be beneficial.

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10.1007%2Fs10879-017-9367-6 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 22 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 September 2017
Published date: 1 March 2018
Keywords: ACT, Depression, Distress, Fusion, Processes, Values

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418644
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418644
ISSN: 0022-0116
PURE UUID: 7ade2c1b-222d-4ef3-bc56-d3814c127698

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Date deposited: 14 Mar 2018 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:46

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Contributors

Author: Kate Bramwell
Author: Thomas Richardson

University divisions

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