The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment on Ego Empowerment and Defense Mechanisms among Adolescent Girls with Psychosomatic Complaints in a Non-Clinical Setting

The effectiveness of ACT on psychosomatic complaints

Cognitive Risk-taking Communication Self-harm Adolescents


  • Mahvash Mafi Department of Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Lahijan Branch, Lahijan, Iran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Ali Talaei
    Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Vol 11, No 3 (2024)
Quantitative Study(ies)
August 19, 2023
May 15, 2024


Background: During adolescence, people undergo physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and environmental changes. Considering that the health of any society has a close relationship with the health of its adolescents, this study aimed to examine the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in improving the ego strength and defense mechanisms of adolescents with psychosomatic complaints.

Methods: This study employed a semi-experimental design with a control group involved in pre-test and post-test. The statistical population was all the students of a girls' school in one district of Qazvin City (550), Iran, in 2022. The statistical sample consisted of 30 adolescent girls who were chosen on purpose for entering the research and were randomly assigned to the ACT (15 people) and the control (15 people) groups. Data were collected through Takata and Sakata scale of psychosomatic complaints, Markstrom et al.'s Ego Strength Questionnaire, and Andrews et al.'s Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ). ACT was provided to the experimental group for 8 sessions, while the control group remained on the waiting list. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) at a significance level of 0.05 in SPSS software.

Results: The ACT was not effective on the developed defense mechanism (P > 0.05), but it was effective on the undeveloped defense mechanism, the neurotic defense mechanism, and ego strength in the post-test stage (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: It is suggested that clinical psychologists use ACT to reduce the immature defense mechanisms (primary) and improve ego ability in teenagers.