Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Lawrence, Erika

First Committee Member

Marchman, James

Second Committee Member

Knutson, John

Third Committee Member

O'Hara, Michael

Fourth Committee Member

Taylor, Janette


The objective of the current research was to test the initial feasibility and potential efficacy of a group-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention for partner aggression, compared to a support and discussion control group, in a clinical sample of adults. Specifically, the study was intended to provide preliminary evidence of the impact of an ACT group on psychological and physical aggression, and to examine the processes responsible for any treatment effects. One hundred and one participants (mean age = 31; 68% female) were randomly assigned to receive ACT or the support and discussion control group. Both interventions consisted of 12 weekly 2-hour sessions and participants were assessed with self-report measures at pre-treatment, twice during treatment, at post-treatment, and at 3- and 6-month follow-up. Results of growth curve modeling analyses demonstrated that participants in the ACT group had significantly greater decreases in psychological and physical aggression at post-treatment and follow-up, and also showed improvements in depressive symptoms, interpersonal problems, and social functioning. Finally, the effect of the ACT group on psychological and physical aggression was mediated by experiential avoidance, suggesting that the intervention had its effects, at least in part, through increasing emotional acceptance. These results demonstrate that an ACT approach to aggression may be a viable alternative to traditional treatments.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Aggression, Clinical intervention, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Domestic violence, Treatment outcomes


vi, 178 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 151-178).


Copyright 2013 Amie Nichole Zarling

Included in

Psychology Commons