Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Acceptance and commitment therapy for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders: a feasibility and proof of concept study

Waters, Cerith ORCID:, Annear, Benjamin, Flockhart, Gillean, Jones, Ian, Simmonds, Jessica R., Smith, Sue, Traylor, Claire and Williams, Jessica F. 2020. Acceptance and commitment therapy for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders: a feasibility and proof of concept study. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 59 (4) , pp. 461-479. 10.1111/bjc.12261

[thumbnail of bjc.12261.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (267kB) | Preview


Objectives The aim of the current study was to assess the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of a newly developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention developed specifically to address the unique context of pregnancy and parenthood. The intervention was delivered to women accessing a specialist Perinatal Community Mental Health Service (PCMHS). Design An open‐label pilot study was conducted of an 8‐week, group‐delivered ACT intervention targeting women with moderate‐to‐severe mood and/or anxiety disorders during pregnancy and/or postpartum. Methods Outcomes included session attendance rates, dropout rates, crisis/inpatient service use, and standardized symptom scales. Participant's responses to open‐ended questions contained in an end of therapy questionnaire were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Seventy‐four women were referred to the intervention with 65 (88%) completing treatment. The median number of sessions attended was 7. No women required input from crisis/inpatient services. All reported finding the intervention helpful. The implementation of ACT in daily life, therapist support, and group processes were cited as helpful aspects of the intervention. At post‐treatment, there was a significant reduction in global distress (d = 0.99) and depressive symptoms (d = 1.05), and an increase in psychological flexibility (d = 0.93). On the secondary outcome of global distress, 38% of women were classified as recovered, 31% had reliably improved, 27% remained the same, and 4% had reliably deteriorated. Conclusions The delivery of ACT in a routine practice setting is feasible, safe, and effective. A randomized control trial (RCT) is needed to establish the efficacy and cost‐effectiveness of this group‐delivered ACT intervention.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0144-6657
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 30 June 2020
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 18:20

Citation Data

Cited 7 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics