The Efficacy of Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in VA Primary Care

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Focused Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (FACT) is a brief intervention based on traditional Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Although there is a growing body of research on the efficacy of ACT for a variety of populations and disorders, there is little research to date on the use of FACT in group settings. This project is 1 of the first of its kind, as it examines data on psychological flexibility, health and mental health status, and symptom reduction from a 4-week FACT group. Participants in this study were 51 patients who attended this group as part of routine clinical care in a VA integrated primary care and mental health setting. They completed pre- and posttreatment measures of well-being, depression, anxiety, stress, psychological flexibility, and perceptions of physical and mental health functioning. Pre- to posttreatment analyses of variance demonstrated large effects for quality of life, F(1, 51) = 21.29, p < .001, η2 = 0.30, moderate effects for depressive symptoms, F(1, 51) = 11.47, p < .001, η2 = 0.08, and perceptions of mental health functioning (MCS scale), F(1, 51) = 9.67, p = .003, η2 = 0.11, and small effects for perceptions of perceived stress, F(1, 51) = 4.08, p = .04, η2 = 0.03, and physical health functioning (PCS scale), F(1, 51) = 6.60, p = .01, η2 = 0.08. There was a statistical trend for reductions in anxiety, F(1, 51) = 3.29, p = .07, η2 = 0.01, and a nonsignificant effect for psychological flexibility, F(1, 51) = 2.05, p = .16, η2 = 0.04. These data provide initial support for the implementation of a group-based FACT protocol within a VA primary care setting and help to lay a foundation for further, more controlled studies on Group FACT in future research.

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