Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award



Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Alan J. Lipps

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Erica Vasquez

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Trisha Nowak


This thesis presents a comparative analysis of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and treatment as usual (TAU) within an intensive outpatient program setting, evaluating their effectiveness in enhancing various dimensions of psychological well-being. Guided by two main research questions, the study investigates whether ACT demonstrates greater or equal effectiveness compared to TAU and if it provides more immediate effects on psychological well-being within three weeks. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design, the research incorporates a comprehensive array of measurement tools to assess outcomes related to anxiety, depression, stress, psychological flexibility, cognitive flexibility, emotion regulation, mindfulness self-efficacy, and life satisfaction among participants. The findings indicate that both ACT and TAU significantly improve psychological outcomes, with no substantial difference in effectiveness between the two treatments. This suggests that ACT, while effective, may not be superior to TAU in the short-term intensive outpatient context. The study highlights the importance of offering a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches within mental health care settings. The study underscores the need for further research to explore the long-term effects and individual predictors of treatment response. This research contributes to the literature by affirming the value of ACT in diverse clinical settings, albeit calling for more nuanced studies to optimize mental health interventions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.