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Trialling Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based sessions and adolescents accessing alternative provision for challenging behaviour

Hopkins, Sophie Rhiannon 2020. Trialling Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based sessions and adolescents accessing alternative provision for challenging behaviour. DEdPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Some concerning statistics regarding mental health in young people have been reported in recent years, for example that globally, depression is one of the primary causes of illness amongst adolescents, with 50% of all mental health conditions appearing by the age of 14 (World Health Organisation (WHO), 2019). One particularly at-risk group is adolescents attending alternative provisions. Often considered the most challenging group of young people to work with, it is important that research aims to identify effective ways of supporting these pupils. The present study examined the impact of a six session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based intervention on the social and emotional wellbeing of pupils in year 11 accessing on-site alternative provision. Sessions were delivered by the researcher to an experimental group (n=4), with outcome measures compared to a control group who did not receive intervention (n=4). A mixed-methods design was employed, consisting of self-report and other-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Two-way repeated measures Analysis of Variances (ANOVAs) were conducted and revealed no statistically significant interactions on any of the self-reported outcome measures except for the ‘Disruptive Behaviour’ scale of the Beck Youth Inventories 2nd Ed. between time and condition (BYI-2) F (1, 6) = 7.66, p = .03, ηp2 = 0.56. However, visual trends in the data indicated that pupils in the experimental condition experienced greater improvements on measures of wellbeing, psychological flexibility and behaviour compared to the control. Pupils in the experimental group also showed visual improvements across all outcomes measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), completed by a member of staff. Thematic analysis of follow-up interviews with pupils in the experimental condition revealed six main themes of: SelfEvaluation, Motivation, Experience of Being an ‘SEBD’ (Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) Pupil, Interpretation of Programme Content, Engagement and Group Dynamics, along with 19 corresponding sub-themes. Four main themes were defined through a thematic analysis of a staff follow-up interview in the experimental condition: Changes to Pupils’ Behaviour, Changes to Pupils’ Engagement with Learning, Ideas for Future Delivery of Sessions and Additional Ideas to Support the Emotional Wellbeing of Pupils, comprised of 16 sub-themes. Threats to the internal validity of the data in this study are acknowledged, with preliminary findings being tentatively argued as evidence to support further research into this area. Recommendations based on the views of participants within the study are also discussed, including the importance of adapting materials to suit specific groups of pupils, and having sessions delivered by a member of staff.

Item Type: Thesis (DEdPsy)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 September 2020
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2020 13:09

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