International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 10 Num. 1 - March 2010


A Review of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Empirical Evidence: Correlational, Experimental Psychopathology, Component and Outcome Studies

Volume 10 Num. 1 - March 2010 - Pages 125-162


Francisco J. Ruiz


This article analyzes the general empirical evidence concerning Acceptance and Commitment
Therapy (ACT). In the first place, a brief description of the ACT philosophical and theoretical
roots is presented. Subsequently, the most fundamental characteristics of the ACT model for
psychological intervention are described. Then, a review of the correlational, experimental
psychopathology and component, and outcome studies that are relevant for the ACT model
empirical status is exposed. In general, the evidence regarding all these types of studies is
very coherent and supports the ACT model. Specifically, experiential avoidance is found to
be related with a wide range of psychological disorders and mediates the relation between
different type of symptoms and psychological constructs; component studies are showing that
acceptance-based protocols are usually more efficacious than other control-based protocols;
outcome studies show the efficacy of ACT in a wide range of psychological problems and
suggest that it is working through its hypothesized processes of change. However, the limitations of the actual empirical status of ACT are recognized and further research is emphasized.

Key words:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Relational Frame Theory, Functional Contextualism.

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