City Research Online

The cognitive-behavioural approach: a closer look at some of its latest developments

Christodoulou, Vasiliki (2010). The cognitive-behavioural approach: a closer look at some of its latest developments. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Three studies addressed the effectiveness of a preventative Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) training for university students and university employees. The studies aimed to explore whether changes in participants' psychological well-being would be mediated by the mechanisms of change theorized as central in ACT.

Design and Method:
The studies adopted an embedded mixed method, repeated-measures randomised controlled trial design. In the first study 65 participants recruited from a university student population were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: 1) a training day (6 hours) based on Acceptance 'and Commitment Therapy (ACT); 2) a waiting-list control group. The intervention was delivered to groups of participants. Participants in both conditions were required to complete outcome and mediation measures at baseline (Time 1), at one month (Time 2) and two months after the training (Time 3). At two months post, participants in the intervention group were also asked to provide written feedback reflecting on the impact of the training. The second and third studies utilised similar methodology. Specifically, in the second study, 71 participants were recruited from a university student population, and in the third study 68 participants were recruited from the university workforce. Assessments were completed at similar time points as in the first study.

The first study (students) resulted in significant between-group differences on mental health variables at one month benefiting the intervention group. The second study (students) indicated beneficial improvements in the intervention group's mental health at two months post intervention. There was some evidence of ACT-consistent mediation in these studies. The third study (employees) failed to identify significant improvements for participants in the ACT condition although participants in the waiting list group had evidenced deterioration of their mental health at one-month. Participants across studies described the experienced impact of the intervention and noted barriers of engaging with the training skills.

Brief ACT preventative interventions could be of potential value as prophylactic approaches. The study identified a requirement of a longer intervention format to enhance engagement with training skills. The study outlines recommendations for improvements of future preventative ACT projects.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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