Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Daily Life (ACT-DL) in early psychosis: Study protocol for a multi-centre randomized controlled trial

Ulrich Reininghaus*, Annelie Klippel, Henrietta Steinhart, Thomas Vaessen, Martine van Nierop, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, Tim Batink, Zuzana Kasanova, Evelyne van Aubel, Ruud van Winkel, Machteld Marcelis, Therese van Amelsvoort, Mark van der Gaag, Lieuwe de Haan, Inez Myin-Germeys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Psychotic experiences, social functioning and general psychopathology are important targets for early intervention in individuals with Ultra-High-Risk state (UHR) and a first-episode psychosis (FEP). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a promising, next-generation Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that aims to modify these targets, but evidence on sustainable change and its underlying mechanisms in individuals' daily lives remains limited. The aim of the INTERACT study is to investigate the efficacy of a novel ecological momentary intervention, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Daily Life (ACT-DL) in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial of individuals with UHR or FEP.

METHODS/DESIGN: In a multi-centre randomised controlled trial, individuals aged 16-65 years with UHR or FEP will be randomly allocated to ACT-DL in addition to treatment as usual (TAU) as the experimental condition or a control condition of TAU only, which will include - for the entire study period - access to routine mental health care and, where applicable, CBT for psychosis (CBTp). Outcomes will be assessed at baseline (i.e. before randomisation), post-intervention (i.e. after the 8-week intervention period), and 6-month and 12-month follow-ups (i.e. 6 and 12 months after completing the intervention period) by blinded assessors. The primary outcome will be distress associated with psychotic experiences, while secondary outcomes will include (momentary) psychotic experiences, social functioning and psychopathology. Process measures to assess putative mechanisms of change will include psychological flexibility, stress sensitivity and reward experiences. In addition, acceptability, treatment adherence and treatment fidelity of ACT-DL will be assessed.

DISCUSSION: The current study is the first to test the efficacy of ACT-DL in individuals with UHR and FEP. If this trial demonstrates the efficacy of ACT-DL, it has the potential to significantly advance the treatment of people with UHR and FEP and, more generally, provides initial support for implementing mHealth interventions in mental health services.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Register, ID: NTR4252. Registered on 26 September 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Article number769
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2019


Cite this

Reininghaus, U., Klippel, A., Steinhart, H., Vaessen, T., van Nierop, M., Viechtbauer, W., Batink, T., Kasanova, Z., van Aubel, E., van Winkel, R., Marcelis, M., van Amelsvoort, T., van der Gaag, M., de Haan, L., & Myin-Germeys, I. (2019). Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Daily Life (ACT-DL) in early psychosis: Study protocol for a multi-centre randomized controlled trial. Trials, 20, 1-12. [769]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3912-4