The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Posttraumatic Cognitions and Psychological Inflexibility among Students with Trauma Exposure


1 Department and Psychiatry, Fatemi Hospital, Ardabil University of Medical Science, Ardabil, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Human Sciences, Shahed University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder has a negative impact on the individual, family, and community due to disturbance in social functioning, increased stress, and life‑threatening health status. Therefore, effective and useful therapeutic interventions in this area are very important. This study aimed at examining the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) on the posttraumatic cognitions of students with trauma exposure. Methods: In this quasi‑experimental study, population included all students of Islamic Azad University in Roudehen, Tehran, Iran, during the academic year of 2018–2019. After administering trauma questionnaire, the second version of acceptance and action questionnaire (AAQ‑II), and posttraumatic cognitions inventory (PTCI) to 500 people, 113 people who experienced trauma and had high scores in PTCI and low scores in AAQ‑II were identified. Of whom 40 people were selected randomly. After the clinical interview, the subjects were randomly placed in the experimental group (who received ACT, n = 20) and placebo group (n = 20). Both groups were pre‑ and posttested using the PTCI and AAQ‑II. Then, the obtained data were analyzed using covariance analysis. Results: The results showed that there was a significan difference in posttraumatic cognitions (negative cognitions about self, negative cognitions about the world, and self‑blame) between the two groups. In addition, the results of posttest related to ACT had a significant impact on psychological inflexibility. In other words, ACT reduced posttraumatic cognitions and increased psychological flexibility of these students. Conclusion: The findings of the present study reveal that despite posttraumatic cognitions of students with trauma exposure, ACT increases value‑based behaviors through increasing psychological flexibility and decreasing experiential avoidance.


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