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To explore what thoughts, feelings, and learning processes were involved in obese participants’ lifestyle change during an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) lifestyle intervention delivered in primary health care.
Previous studies have revealed that lifestyle interventions are effective at promoting initial weight loss, but reduced weight is often difficult to sustain because of the failure to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Achieving and maintaining lifestyle changes requires to learn self-regulation skills. ACT-based lifestyle interventions combine many self-regulatory skill factors, and the results from previous studies are promising. Research on the individual learning processes of lifestyle change is still needed.
This study investigated a subset of data from a larger web-based lifestyle intervention. This subset consisted of online logbooks written by 17 obese participants (n = 17, body mass index mean 41.26 kg/m2) during the six-week online module. The logbooks were analyzed via data-driven content analysis.
Four groups were identified based on the participants being at different phases in their lifestyle changes: stuck with barriers, slowly forward, reflective and hardworking, and convincingly forward with the help of concrete goals. Differences between the groups were manifested in personal barriers, goal setting, training of mindfulness and acceptance, and achieving healthy actions. The ACT-based lifestyle intervention offered participants an opportunity to reflect on how their thoughts and feelings may hinder healthy lifestyle changes and provided tools for learning psychological flexibility.
Despite the promising results related to intuitive eating, few studies have attempted to explain the processes encouraging this adaptive eating behaviour. The focus of the present study was on exploring mechanisms of change in intuitive eating and weight in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) interventions. Mediation provides important information regarding the treatment processes and theoretical models related to specific treatment approaches. The study investigates whether psychological flexibility, mindfulness skills and sense of coherence mediated the interventions’ effect on intuitive eating and weight.
Secondary analysis of a randomized control trial. Mediation analysis compared two ACT interventions – face-to-face (in a group) and mobile (individually) – with a control group using a latent difference score model.
Data were collected in three Finnish towns.
The participants were overweight or obese (n 219), reporting symptoms of perceived stress.
The effect of the interventions on participants’ (i) BMI, (ii) intuitive eating and its subscales, (iii) eating for physical rather than emotional reasons and (iv) reliance on internal hunger and satiety cues was mediated by changes in weight-related psychological flexibility in both ACT groups.
These findings suggest that ACT interventions aiming for lifestyle changes mediate the intervention effects through the enhanced ability to continue with valued activities even when confronted with negative emotions and thoughts related to weight.
Background: Depressive symptoms are one of the main reasons for seeking psychological help. Shorter interventions using briefly trained therapists could offer a solution to the ever-rising need for early and easily applicable psychological treatments. Aims: The current study examines the effectiveness of a four-session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based treatment for self-reported depressive symptoms administered by Masters level psychology students. Method: This paper reports the effectiveness of a brief intervention compared to a waiting list control (WLC) group. Participants were randomized into two groups: ACT (n = 28) and waiting list (n = 29). Long-term effects were examined using a 6-month follow-up. Results: The treatment group's level of depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory) decreased by an average of 47%, compared to an average decrease of 4% in the WLC group. Changes in psychological well-being in the ACT group were better throughout, and treatment outcomes were maintained after 6 months. The posttreatment “between-group” and follow-up “with-in group” effect sizes (Cohen's d) were large to medium for depressive symptoms and psychological flexibility. Conclusions: The results support the brief ACT-based intervention for sub-clinical depressive symptoms when treatment was conducted by briefly trained psychology students. It also contributes to the growing body of evidence on brief ACT-based treatments and inexperienced therapists.
The main objectives of this pan-European study were: (1) to identify different types of physical activity and the time devoted to them, (2) to assess physical activity/inactivity at work and in leisure time, and (3) to determine self-reported body weight and height.
Design and subjects
In each member state of the EU, approximately 1000 adults, aged 15 years or more, were selected to participate in an interview-assisted face-to-face questionnaire on physical activity and body weight. In each country, sample selection was quota-controlled to ensure national representativeness. Overall, 15 239 subjects in the EU completed the study.
On average in the EU, nearly three-quarters of the population participate in some kind of activity. In general, the highest proportions of participants were found in the Nordic countries and the lowest in the southern ones. At the European level, the five most common activities include walking, gardening, cycling, keep fit and swimming. Higher participation rates were found among men, younger subjects and those with a higher level of education. The majority of Europeans fall within the normal body mass index (BMI) range but more than one-third are overweight (31%) or obese (10%) and 11% have a BMI below 20.
Several risk groups related to physical activity emerge from this survey: women, those with a lower level of education, older subjects, the overweight/obese and the underweight. Programmes to promote physical activity need to be tailored to the different groups identified in each country/region in order to increase adherence of non-participants and for the maintenance of those already engaged in activities.
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