Acceptance and commitment therapy universal prevention program for adolescents: a feasibility study

There is a need to prevent anxiety and depression in young people and mindfulness contains important emotion regulation strategies. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a mindfulness-based therapy, has yet to be evaluated as a prevention program, but has demonstrated an ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in adult and adolescent populations. This study examines the feasibility of using an ACT-based prevention program in a sample of year 10 (aged 14–16 years) high school students from Sydney, Australia.


Participants were allocated to either their usual classes or to the ACT-based intervention. Participants were followed for a period of 5 months post-intervention and completed the Flourishing Scale, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and a program evaluation questionnaire. Analyses were completed using intention-to-treat mixed models for repeated measures.


The results indicated that the intervention was acceptable to students and feasible to administer in a school setting. There were no statistically significant differences between the conditions, likely due to the small sample size (N = 48). However, between-group effect sizes demonstrated small to large differences for baseline to post-intervention mean scores and medium to large differences for baseline to follow-up mean scores, all favouring the ACT-based condition.


The results suggest that an ACT-based school program has potential as a universal prevention program and merits further investigation in a larger trial.

Self-compassion and Psychological Resilience Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Self and Identity

Volume 9, 2010 – Issue 3


Self-compassion is an adaptive way of relating to the self when considering personal inadequacies or difficult life circumstances. However, prior research has only examined self-compassion among adults. The current study examined self-compassion among adolescents (N = 235; Mage = 15.2) and included a sample of young adults as a comparison group (N = 287; Mage = 21.1). Results indicated that self-compassion was strongly associated with well-being among adolescents as well as adults. In addition, family and cognitive factors were identified as predictors of individual differences in self-compassion. Finally, self-compassion was found to partially mediate the link between family/cognitive factors and well-being. Findings suggest that self-compassion may be an effective intervention target for teens suffering from negative self-views.

Character strengths predict subjective well-being during adolescence

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 6, 2011 – Issue 1: Special Issue on Positive Youth Psychology


Previous research indicates that several character strengths (e.g., gratitude, optimism, persistence, and self-regulation) correlate positively with measures of subjective well-being in adolescents. We examined whether character strengths predict future well-being. Adolescent high school students (N = 149) completed the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths for Youth and measures of subjective well-being (depression, happiness, life satisfaction) at several assessments from the fall of 9th grade through the spring of their 10th grade year. In analyses controlling for the effects of other strengths, other-directed strengths (e.g., kindness, teamwork) predicted fewer symptoms of depression. Transcendence strengths (e.g., meaning, love) predicted greater life satisfaction. Social support partially mediated the relationship between strengths and depression, but did not mediate the relationship between strengths and life satisfaction. These findings indicate that strengths that build connections to people and purposes larger than the self predict future well-being.