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Pilot study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A preliminary analysis of treatment outcomes and processes of change

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    Rights statement: 'This is an electronic version of an article published in Ferreira, N. B., Gillanders, D., Morris, P. G. and Eugenicos, M. (2017), Pilot study of acceptance and commitment therapy for irritable bowel syndrome: A preliminary analysis of treatment outcomes and processes of change. Clin Psychol. doi:10.1111/cp.12123'

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
JournalClinical Psychologist
Issue number2
Early online date11 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Apr 2017


Objective: To investigate the efficacy and proposed processes of change of ACT in improving the outcomes of IBS. Methods: Fifty six consecutive patients recruited from a specialist clinic were included in the study and completed an ACT treatment protocol (one day group workshop plus self–help manual). Assessments of process (acceptance of IBS) and outcome variables (symptom severity, avoidance behaviours, quality of life and gastrointestinal anxiety) were carried at 4 time points (assessment, pre-treatment, post-treatment, follow-up). Results: A significant increase in the acceptance of IBS and improvement in all outcome variables was observed from pre- to post-treatment and follow-up (effect sizes medium to large). Improvements in all outcomes were associated with increases in acceptance of IBS. Changes in acceptance of IBS from pre- to post-treatment were a significant predictor of improvements in outcomes from pre-treatment to follow-up. Conclusions: Results support the efficacy of a brief ACT protocol in improving IBS outcomes and maintaining therapy effects at 6 month follow-up. Preliminary support for the treatment process proposed was also found.

    Research areas

  • IBS, psychotherapy, experiential avoidance, ACT, acceptance and commitment therapy, irritable bowelsyndrome

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