Date of Graduation

Spring 2016


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Ann Rost


Adherence to physical therapy rehabilitation is one of the most common issues physical therapists face with patients. Methods to improve physical therapy adherence have only been mildly successful, and many modalities fail to address psychological components that affect compliance. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave behavior analytic therapy that has recently been utilized to influence health behavior change through emphasizing mindfulness, values, and psychological. The current study evaluates the effectiveness of a brief ACT intervention on physical therapy adherence, including compliance with prescribed home exercises and attendance at sessions. Participants (n = 4) with a range of physical injuries were recruited from a campus physical therapy clinic. Utilizing a single-subjects design, participants completed four individual ACT therapy sessions after measuring physical therapy adherence for a baseline period. Data were collected for the entire duration each participant was in physical therapy, ranging from six to eight weeks. Additional questionnaires were administered prior to and following the ACT intervention that assessed values connectedness, mindfulness, psychological flexibility, distress tolerance, and pain acceptance. Results demonstrated that a brief ACT intervention improved patients' physical therapy and home exercise adherence. Future research should utilize randomized controlled trials to further evaluate the effectiveness of an ACT intervention in a physical therapy setting.


acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), physical therapy, adherence, single-subjects design, psychological flexibility

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© Jennifer Ashley Battles

Open Access

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Psychology Commons