Neuro-Typical Children Outcomes from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Summer Camp

Abstract

The current article discusses the practical implications of using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in a community camp setting with children. Previous research demonstrates that ACT curricula for children paired with formal mindfulness- and acceptance-based activities show promise as an intervention for children. ACT may also be an effective intervention with children due to its approachable, acceptable, and easily implemented format of delivery. The current study used a neurotypical sample, and outcomes support the potential for increasing psychological flexibility and mindful awareness between an experimental group and a control group. Scores on the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth (AFQ-Y) and the Child Acceptance and Mindfulness Measure (CAMM) self-report questionnaires were obtained during pre- and postintervention. The results of the AFQ-Y suggest that there was a significant difference between the experimental group (M = 17.13, SD = 2.64) and the control group (M = 27.4, SD = 2.64) at posttest, F(1, 28) = 7.53, p = .01, \( {\upeta}_p^2 \) = .212. Similarly, the results of the CAMM suggest that there was a significant difference between the experimental group (M = 29.66, SD = 1.99) and the control group (M = 21.26, SD = 1.99) at posttest, F(1, 28) = 8.89, p = .006, \( {\upeta}_p^2 \) = .241. These results indicate that the members of the experimental group, compared to the control group, had significant increases in their overall mindful awareness and psychological flexibility after completing the Mindfulness Camp.

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Correspondence to Mary Rachel Enoch.

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Mary Rachel Enoch declares she has no conflict of interest. Mark R. Dixon declares that he receives small royalties from the sales of the ACT curriculum.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Research Highlights

•ACT is an effective intervention with youth populations.

•An ACT curriculum for children demonstrated increases in psychological flexibility in a neurotypical sample.

•Compared to a control group, youths participating in a Mindfulness Camp demonstrated increases in mindful awareness.

•Preliminary results suggest that delivering ACT in a community group format may be a feasible and approachable delivery model.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 1 Daily schedule of activities with group size
Table 2 ACT Activities and Processes Targeted
Table 3 Mindful walking activities, mindful listening activities, yoga, and daily experience log

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Enoch, M.R., Dixon, M.R. Neuro-Typical Children Outcomes from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Summer Camp. Behav Analysis Practice 12, 343–352 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-00319-0

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Keywords

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Community setting
  • Children