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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness

Last updated: August 28, 2017
Project Number: RC0912-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy for adult patients with trauma-related post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression?

Key Message

Two systematic reviews, two randomized controlled trials and four non-randomized studies (NRSs) assessed the clinical effectiveness of ACT for adult patients with trauma-related PTSD, anxiety, or depression. The two systematic reviews included a limited number of case reports and poor quality studies, but found preliminary evidence supporting the use of ACT in PTSD. One of the two RCTs found favourable results for ACT combined with treatment as usual (TAU) compared to TAU alone in survivors of interpersonal trauma. In comparison to Person-Centred Therapy, ACT had similar outcomes on depression, anxiety, disability, PTSD symptoms, anger, and HRQoL in military veterans. In the four NRSs, ACT had a favourable impact on depression, HRQoL, PTSD symptoms and psychological well-being. However, these studies have a number of methodological limitations that should be considered in their interpretation.