Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Adolescent Difficulties with Emotion Regulation: An Open Trial
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Scott T. Gaynor
Dr. Amy Naugle
Dr. Amy Damashek
Dr. Susan Baird
Emotion regulation, adolescent, treatment outcome, acceptance and commitment therapy, clinical psychology
Research suggests that youth rates of mental health problems are high and that evidence-based treatments for these populations exist; however, there is a significant problem in accessibility of mental health services. Recent movements in the mental health field have shifted focus to transdiagnostic dimensions of behavior in attempt to target a broader range of psychological difficulties across larger populations. One such construct, emotion regulation, has been defined as an ability to have awareness and acceptance of emotions and control urges and impulses in order to behave towards a goal. Emotion regulation has been linked to numerous internalizing and externalizing behavioral patterns seen in adolescents and aligns well with areas targeted by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The purpose of this single-subject, A/B design, study was to examine the efficacy of a six-session ACT protocol for adolescents experiencing difficulties with emotion regulation. The study used the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale as the primary outcome measure, in addition to several self-report measures of general psychological functioning and processes related to the ACT model, and two computerized behavioral analogues of constructs related to emotion regulation. Eight participants enrolled in the study and six completed the pre- and post-treatment assessments. Four of the six completers demonstrated reliable improvements in emotion regulation. Some participants also demonstrated movement in the process measures targeted by ACT. The results of this study provide support for the use of ACT with adolescents and show preliminary promise for utilizing ACT to target emotion regulation.
Duenas, Julissa A., "Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Adolescent Difficulties with Emotion Regulation: An Open Trial" (2016). Dissertations. 1959.