In the shadow of COVID-19 : A randomized controlled online ACT trial promoting adolescent psychological flexibility and self-compassion
Lappalainen, P., Lappalainen, R., Keinonen, K., Kaipainen, K., Puolakanaho, A., Muotka, J., & Kiuru, N. (2023). In the shadow of COVID-19 : A randomized controlled online ACT trial promoting adolescent psychological flexibility and self-compassion. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 27, 34-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2022.12.001
Published inJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science
© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Background Although some adolescents managed to cope well with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of many was adversely affected due to school closures, distance education, restrictions on gathering with friends, and limited access to mental health services. Many adolescents reported increased anxiety and depression as well as decreased psychological wellbeing due to the pandemic. Consequently, there is a need for psychological support that exceeds the strained resources available to schools to support young people during times of crisis and societal pressure. Objective The present study aimed to explore the effects of an online-delivered ACT intervention to promote adolescent psychological flexibility and self-compassion and decrease psychological distress during the second wave of COVID-19 in the fall of 2020. Methods A total of 348 adolescents aged 15–16 were randomly divided into three equal groups: 1) the iACT student coach + virtual coach group, n = 116; 2) the iACT virtual coach group, n = 116; and 3) the control group with no intervention, n = 116). Among these adolescents, 234 participated in a pre-measurement (iACT, n = 154; control, n = 80; intent-to-treat) and completed measures of psychological flexibility, self-compassion, anxiety, and depression. Results An investigation of all the adolescents who participated in the pre-measurement (intent-to-treat analysis, n = 234) revealed no significant differences between the three groups with regard to psychological flexibility, self-compassion, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, upon combining the two intervention groups and examining the adolescents who completed at least 30% of the Youth Compass program (per-protocol analysis, n = 137), small but significant differences between the iACT intervention and control groups were found regarding the psychological flexibility subscale valued action, self-compassion, and anxiety in favor of the intervention group. Conclusions Active use of an ACT-based online intervention under adverse circumstances may decrease symptoms of anxiety and increase psychological flexibility skills in adolescents. ...
ISSN Search the Publication Forum2212-1447
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingThe study was funded with grants from the XXX (No. 324638) and the Center for Research for Learning and Teaching (MultiLeTe2).
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