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What is the evidence for the efficacy of self-help acceptance and commitment therapy? A systematic review and meta-analysis

French, Kate; Golijani-Moghaddam, Nima; Schr�der, Thomas


Kate French

Nima Golijani-Moghaddam

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT ) is a form of psychotherapy with growing evidence for its transdiagnostic effects. Traditionally face-to-face, ACT is also delivered in self-help formats. As self-help is becoming more prevalent, the demand for empirical evidence of the efficacy of ACT self-help is increasing, and there are concerns that intervention outcomes are being ‘over-sold’. A systematic search of the literature was conducted to find all peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials investigating the efficacy of ACT self-help on depression, anxiety, and/or psychological flexibility (PF). Thirteen studies were identified and reviewed, totaling 2580 participants. A quality appraisal of the papers under review indicated bias in methodology and reporting that may be limit the interpretability of existing evidence. Meta-analysis showed significant small effect sizes favoring intervention for depression (g=0.34; 95% CIs [0.07, 0.61]; Z=2.49, p=.01), anxiety (g=0.35; 95% CIs [0.09, 0.60]; Z=2.66, p=.008), and PF (g=0.42; 95% CIs [0.14, 0.70]; Z=2.93, p=.003) outcomes. Results indicate that higher levels of clinician guidance improves outcomes but that intervention format (e.g. book/computer) is unlikely to moderate results. Analysis also showed that increases in PF were associated with reductions in depression (rho=-.70, p=.25, n=10) and anxiety (rho=-.90, p


French, K., Golijani-Moghaddam, N., & Schröder, T. (2017). What is the evidence for the efficacy of self-help acceptance and commitment therapy? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 6(4), 360-374.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 9, 2017
Publication Date 2017-10
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 26, 2018
Journal Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science
Print ISSN 2212-1447
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 4
Pages 360-374
Keywords Applied Psychology; Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; Behavioral Neuroscience; Health(social science)
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