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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Child Depression: A Randomized Multiple-Baseline Evaluation

Abstract

The current study analyzes the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focused on repetitive negative thinking (RNT) for child depression. A randomized, nonconcurrent, multiple-baseline design was conducted with nine children, aged between 8 and 13 years, who showed a main diagnosis of child depression. Measures of psychological inflexibility, RNT, and generalized pliance were administered on a weekly basis throughout the study, whereas measures of emotional symptoms and parents’ report of problematic behavior were applied at pretreatment, posttreatment, and the 4-week follow-up. All participants showed evidence of a treatment effect for psychological inflexibility and RNT. The standardized mean difference effect sizes for single-case experimental designs were very large for these measures. No participant showed the diagnosis of child depression or comorbid disorders at the 4-week follow-up. Pretreatment to follow-up changes in emotional symptoms and problematic behavior reported by parents were statistically significant, with large effect sizes. RNT-focused ACT interventions for child depression deserve further empirical tests.

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Availability of Data and Materials

The raw data of this study can be downloaded at https://osf.io/7r3gn/. The results of the statistical analyses that are not reported in the manuscript for the sake of brevity can be found at https://osf.io/a7z6q/ and https://osf.io/7bp3f/. The RNT-focused ACT protocol employed in this study can be downloaded at https://osf.io/ub2n8/

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Salazar, D.M., Ruiz, F.J., Ramírez, E.S. et al. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Child Depression: A Randomized Multiple-Baseline Evaluation. Psychol Rec 70, 373–386 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-019-00362-5

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Keywords

  • Child depression
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Relational frame theory
  • Repetitive negative thinking