Development and Evaluation of a Web-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Program for Trauma Related Problems: A Pilot Study
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Interpersonal violence against women is notably prevalent in our societies. Examination of well-suited alternative approaches are needed to address the larger set of problems associated with interpersonal trauma. The current dissertation is a pilot study which involves the evaluation of a web-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) program for psychologically distressed women who experienced interpersonal violence in a sample of 22 women. The study examined feasibility, acceptability, and changes across a range of psychological domains including PTSD, depression, anxiety, general distress, complex traumatic stress, and quality of life. Changes in theoretically relevant process measures, including psychological flexibility, self-compassion, and ACT knowledge, were studied. Results indicated satisfactory ratings of acceptability and good usability for the web-based program within this sample. Analyses found significant changes in all measures of psychopathology from pre to post treatment but not on quality of life. Significant improvement in all process measures were also found across time. Measures of psychological flexibility and self-compassion were related to measures of psychopathology and quality of life at pre-treatment. However, the relationships between pre to mid changes in process measures and mid to post changes in outcome measures were not significant. Current findings are compared to the larger literature, and possible explanations for the pattern of results found in the study are explored. Limitations and implications of these findings and the study are also discussed. Overall, the results of this pilot study indicate that the existing web-based ACT program may have utility with regard to changes across a broad range of psychological domains and processes in interpersonal trauma survivors.