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The impact of acceptance and commitment training and multicultural training on the stigmatizing attitudes and professional burnout of substance abuse counselors
AuthorHayes, Steven C.
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Empirically validated methods for reducing stigma and prejudice toward recipients of behavioral health-care services are badly needed. In the present study, two packages presented in 1-day workshops were compared to a biologically oriented educational control condition in the alleviation of stigmatizing attitudes in drug abuse counselors. One, Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), utilized acceptance, defusion, mindfulness, and values methods. The other, multicultural training, sensitized participants to group prejudices and biases. Measures of stigma and burnout were taken pretraining, posttraining, and after a 3-month follow-up. Results showed that multicultural training had an impact on stigmatizing attitudes and burnout postintervention but not at follow-up, but showed better gains in a sense of personal accomplishment as compared to the educational control at follow-up. ACT had a positive impact on stigma at follow-up and on burnout at posttreatment and follow-up and follow-up gains in burnout exceeded those of multicultural training. ACT also significantly changed the believability of stigmatizing attitudes. This process mediated the impact of ACT but not multicultural training on follow-up stigma and burnout. This preliminary study opens new avenues for reducing stigma and burnout in behavioral health counselors.