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Age with ACT: A pilot acceptance and commitment therapy group for older adults receiving a community mental health service

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Dr Paul Sadler, Isabelle Gardner, Sarah Hart, Dr Shama Aradhye, and Julian Nolan

Abstract

The aim of this pilot study was to assess whether an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) group could benefit the mental health of older adults (aged 65–84) in a community psychiatric setting. Ten older adults participated in a 6-week pilot ACT group (M age = 72 years; seven women). All participants had a diagnosed chronic/recurrent major depressive disorder with a variety of comorbid psychiatric and medical conditions. Participants completed a battery of outcome measures to explore whether the program improved their mental health. Seven out of the 10 participants completed the ACT group pilot. These seven participants showed improvements on the battery of outcome measures from pre to post, including psychiatric symptom severity, mood, subjective health status, values progress, hopefulness, confidence, awareness, and social connectedness. This pilot study provides promising evidence that ACT groups could be a viable adjunct recovery option for older adults receiving community mental health services.

 

Keywords: acceptance and commitment therapy, group, older adults, mental health

 

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