Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for professional staff burnout: a systematic review and narrative synthesis of controlled trials

Kim D. Towey-Swift, Christian Lauvrud, Richard Whittington

Vitenskapelig artikkel
Journal of Mental Health, 2022
Online / DOI:

Background: Staff working in people-oriented professions are vulnerable to burnout which is negatively associated with professional well-being and service-user care.

Aim: To investigate if interventions based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are effective in reducing staff burnout. Method: Systematic database and reference list searches were conducted resulting in the inclusion of 14 quantitative papers. A narrative synthesis, including extraction of individual effect sizes, was performed.

Results: All studies were controlled trials. The settings for ACT delivery were varied across health, social care, and public services. The ACT interventions demonstrated statistically significant effects in favour of ACT on the outcome measure subscales across the majority of studies (n = 9). Thirteen studies demonstrated an effect in favour of ACT in at least one outcome measure subscale. Positive aspects of work engagement varied according to a professional role.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that ACT-based interventions using a wide range of formats may have the potential to decrease burnout across a range of professional groups. However, samples were small in the studies reviewed and the interventions were not always defined. Further research would benefit from larger studies, incorporating process measures, with explicit protocols.