ACT at Work: Feasibility study of an acceptance based intervention to promote mental health well-being and work engagement in mental health service staff

Maclean, Kirsten (2013) ACT at Work: Feasibility study of an acceptance based intervention to promote mental health well-being and work engagement in mental health service staff. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) aids individuals to accept difficult experiences that may be beyond their control and commit to behaviour that is consistent with their values. Previous research highlights that ACT interventions can: improve mental health, reduce worker stress and engender effective learning and performance. Work engagement has been defined as having an energetic and effective connection to work activity. As yet, no studies have investigated whether ACT interventions lead to improvements in work engagement. Aim: To investigate the feasibility of using ACT at Work Training (ACTw) to improve mental well-being and foster work engagement in staff working in mental health services. Method: A prospective, non-randomised, cohort controlled, repeated measures design was utilised. The parameters of this feasibility trial were formulated around the PICO (population, intervention, control, outcome) framework. 25 staff were recruited to take part in ACTw. 20 staff were recruited separately to a control group. The control group did not receive any input. ACTw was implemented over three sessions. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, General Health Questionnaire, Michigan Job Satisfaction Scale and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were administered as outcome measures, while the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire - measuring psychological flexibility - and the Valuing Questionnaire - measuring value based living - were administered as therapy-specific measures. Following the completion of baseline assessments, measures were conducted 6 and 10 weeks post-baseline. Results: Despite initial recruitment problems, ACTw and control group participants were successfully recruited. Positive feedback from those who completed ACTw, suggested the intervention was acceptable. However, a third of ACTw participants missed training sessions, which was related to work and personal stress factors. The lack of significant differences between ACTw and control participants’ in scores on outcome and therapy-specific measures across the time points does not provide support for treatment signal changes in these measures. However, the lack of significant differences in outcome measures may be due to the low number of individuals presenting with high stress and low work engagement levels. For the group as a whole, changes in stress, anxiety, depression and work engagement were significantly correlated with changes in therapy-specific measures i.e. measures of psychological flexibility and value based living. Conclusions: Results of this study highlight factors that will help inform a larger trial of ACTw for health professional staff. Suggestions for future implementation include considering a larger sample and catchment area, staff stress level, potential barriers to participation and implementation of change at an organisation level.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; work, stress; work engagement; well-being.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: White, Dr. Ross
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Ms Kirsten Maclean
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4630
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2013 12:11
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2013 12:13

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