Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Original Article

Efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) on depression, pain acceptance, and psychological flexibility in married women with breast cancer: a pre- and post-test clinical trial

Vajiheh Ghorbani, Zahra Zanjani, Abdollah Omidi, Mostafa Sarvizadeh

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Objective: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Many of these patients suffer from multiple psychological symptoms. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) on depression, pain acceptance, and psychological flexibility in married women with breast cancer. Methods: The present study was a pre- and post-test clinical trial with intervention and control groups. The research population consisted of women with breast cancer referred to the Ayatollah Yasrebi and Shahid Beheshti Hospitals in Kashan in 2018. Through a purposive sampling method, 40 women were selected and randomly divided into two groups, namely, intervention (n = 20) and control (n = 20). The applied tools included the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire 8 (CPAQ-8), and Acceptance and Action Questionnaire - II (AAQ-II). Data were analyzed by SPSS 16 using descriptive statistics and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: The results showed that ACT treatment significantly reduced the mean scores of depression compared to the control group (F = 107.72, p < 0.001). The mean scores of pain acceptance (F = 9.58, p < 0.05) and psychological flexibility (F = 10.61, p < 0 .05) significantly increased in comparison with the control group. Conclusion: ACT can be considered as an effective therapeutic approach to reduce depression and increase pain acceptance and psychological flexibility in women with breast cancer. These changes appear to be due to improved acceptance of thoughts and feelings associated with cancer and increased psychological flexibility, which is the primary goal of ACT treatment. Clinical trial registration: Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (IRCT), IRCT20190518043620N1.


Acceptance and commitment therapy, depression, pain acceptance, psychological flexibility, breast cancer.


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