A pilot study of acceptance and commitment therapy for promotion of physical activity

J Phys Act Health. 2011 May;8(4):516-22. doi: 10.1123/jpah.8.4.516.


Background: Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) appears to have some promise as a method of promoting physical activity.

Method: This pilot study evaluated the short-term effectiveness of a brief, physical-activity-focused ACT intervention. Young adult, female participants were randomly assigned to an Education (n=19) or ACT (n=35) intervention. Both interventions consisted of 2, 2-hour group sessions. ACT sessions taught skills for mindfulness, values clarification, and willingness to experience distress in the service of behavior change.

Results: Of the intervention completers, ACT participants increased their level of physical activity significantly more than Education participants.

Conclusions: The results indicate that ACT approaches have the potential to promote short-term increases in physical activity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Young Adult