Date of Graduation

Summer 2021

Degree

Master of Science in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dana Paliliunas

Keywords

acceptance and commitment therapy, self-management, college student wellbeing, mental health, values

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology

Abstract

College students face significant levels of stress (American College Health Association, 2019) and recent data suggests a high prevalence of diagnostic-level mental health concerns being reported by students and treated by mental health professionals (Blanco et al., 2008). College counseling centers are thus facing an increase in demand for services, creating a growing need for innovative treatment options to flexibly accommodate the demand (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2016). In response to the unique needs of college students, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based interventions have received support for their use in increasing wellbeing in engineering students and graduate students (Abiadbe & Moliski, 2020; Paliliunas et al., 2018). In an effort to continue promoting student wellbeing, the present study combined ACT-based therapeutic techniques, self-management strategies, and mindfulness to help undergraduate students progress toward a personally-defined behavioral goal in an area of interest and relevance to them. Three undergraduate students at a midwestern university recruited via their academic department participated by completing an intake meeting, a values and goal setting meeting, and four ACT-based sessions. Self-report measures of psychological flexibility, emotion regulation, values-behavior coherence, self-regulation, stress, and college student wellbeing were administered on the day of the intake session prior to intervention implementation and again on the day of the final session. Between sessions, participants recorded self-monitoring data and answered three self-report items of values-behavior coherence, emotion regulation, and stress via a mobile application. Overall, participants achieved behavior change in the desired directions of their defined goals for the study. Additionally, self-reported levels of psychological flexibility, emotion regulation, college student subjective wellbeing, stress, and values behavior coherence changed in the therapeutic direction. Participants rated their overall experience with this intervention as positive and it was feasible for the researchers to implement. This study demonstrated the utility of a brief, values-based self-management intervention to increase overall wellbeing in undergraduate students. Implications include potential advancements to existing mental health and counseling services for college students.

Copyright

© Sara Elizabeth Johnson

Open Access

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