Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Chet Lesniak

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to analyze the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in a group setting for 8 weeks on the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for women diagnosed with PTSD due to childhood trauma who have not served in the military. ACT was developed using contextualism with relational frame theory being the foundation for contextualism. Women diagnosed with PTSD due to childhood trauma were found to have higher rates of attempted suicide, higher rates of mental health disorders, as well as higher rates of medical disorders than those who were not diagnosed with PTSD. The PTSD symptoms were measured using the PTSD checklist-civilian (PCL-C). The PCL-C was completed during Session 1 and Session 8 of ACT group therapy. There was a total of 24 PCL-C score sheets utilized for this study and only the score sheets of women diagnosed with PTSD due to childhood trauma who did not have a thought disorder were included. The research design was considered a pre-experimental design and the statistical design used was ANOVA with repeated measures using subject x trials. Cohen's estimate of small effect size was used. Secondary data analysis was conducted using archival data from a community mental health agency. According to the statistical measure of the repeated ANOVA the null hypothesis was rejected as there was sufficient evidence to support that using ACT in a group setting for 8 weeks can decrease PTSD symptoms as measured by the PCL-C. This study contributes to social change by decreasing symptoms of PTSD, therefore decreasing suicidal thoughts, as well as behaviors, and lead to an increase in overall functioning and prosocial behaviors.

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