The role of acceptance in rehabilitation in life-threatening illness.

Low, J; Davis, S; Drake, R; King, M; Tookman, A; Turner, K; Serfaty, M; Leurent, B; Jones, L; (2011) The role of acceptance in rehabilitation in life-threatening illness. Journal of pain and symptom management, 43 (1). pp. 20-8. ISSN 0885-3924 DOI:

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CONTEXT Palliative care rehabilitation aims to maximize physical and psychological functioning, but negative thoughts can hinder patients from attempting this approach. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a modified form of cognitive behavioral therapy, encourages individuals to experience and manage negative emotions by focusing on changing individual behavior and so improve functioning. ACT has been used in many health-related behavioral interventions but not in palliative care rehabilitation. OBJECTIVES To investigate the relationship between acceptance (often called experiential acceptance in ACT) and psychological and physical status. METHODS Cross-sectional study in which a consecutive sample of patients attending a specialist palliative care day therapy unit for rehabilitation completed the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II to measure acceptance and the Kessler-10 questionnaire to measure psychological morbidity. Physical function was assessed by a timed two-minute walking test and one-minute sit-to-stand test. Correlation statistics and multivariable regression analyses were used to explore the strength of relationships between acceptance and psychological morbidity and physical function. RESULTS One hundred one patients were recruited, mainly white women with a mean age of 64 years. Correlation analysis showed a negative association between acceptance and psychological morbidity (r=-0.59) and a positive association between acceptance and sit to stand (r=0.27) and distance walked (r=0.21). All three of these relationships were statistically significant after adjustment. CONCLUSION These associations suggest that it may be possible to reduce psychological morbidity and improve physical mobility by increasing patients' acceptance using an ACT-based intervention. Future work is now needed to develop an ACT-based intervention in palliative care rehabilitation and test its acceptability and feasibility.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Medical Statistics
PubMed ID: 21855291
Web of Science ID: 299212900003


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