Date on Honors Thesis



Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis


Nonprofit Leadership Studies

Examining Committee Member

Michael Bordieri, PhD, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Jana Hackathorn, PhD, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Gage Jordan, PhD, Committee Member


While mental health apps could potentially increase access to mental health resources, only 3.05% of depression and anxiety apps on the Apple App store had published research support as of 2018 (Marshall et al., 2019). The present study aims to evaluate an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) mental health app. ACT aims to cultivate psychological flexibility, the ability to fully experience and accept one’s present context while engaging in behavior that aligns with one’s values (Hayes et al., 2006). Gloster et al. (2020) reviewed ACT metanalyses and found it to be efficacious for a range of conditions. Past research has also suggested that ACT is effective in promoting wellbeing (Fledderus et al., 2010; Wersebe et al., 2018). The app “ACT Coach” was evaluated for effectiveness in promoting psychological flexibility and wellbeing while decreasing levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in a college student sample. A potential relationship between self-compassion and duration of app use was also examined. Participants (N = 32) were randomized to an experimental app group and a waitlist control group. The app group did not show increases in psychological flexibility, increases in wellbeing, or decreases in depression, anxiety, or stress. In addition, those higher in self-compassion at pre-intervention did not report a significant difference in app use. Explanations for the lack of improvements and implications for future research directions are discussed.