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Validation of a Behavioral Activation Model Including Self-Compassion: A Longitudinal Study at Three Time Points.

Psychopathology 2024 April 9
INTRODUCTION: Depression is highly prevalent among university students. While behavioral activation has been shown to be an effective psychotherapy for depression, there is a lack of research regarding the behavioral activation mechanism. Furthermore, although self-compassion seems to be a factor in promoting behavioral activation, no studies have attempted to validate a behavioral activation model that includes positive self-compassion. In addition, mechanistic studies have lacked consideration in longitudinal studies of behavioral activation. Thus, in this longitudinal study, we constructed and validated an exploratory model of behavioral activation.

METHODS: A total of 300 undergraduate students completed online surveys in 2019, 2020, and 2021. We examined the longitudinal effects of five factors (value-based behavior, goal-oriented and scheduled activities, positive reinforcement, self-compassion, and depressive symptoms) using structural equation modeling based on maximum likelihood estimation using bootstrapping.

RESULTS: The exploratory model was found to be valid and to have a good fit with the data. The results indicate that value-based behaviors increase the frequency of goal-oriented and scheduled activities, which in turn increases the frequency of positive reinforcement in everyday life. Additionally, when self-compassion, value-based behavior, goal-oriented and scheduled activities, and positive reinforcement are considered together, self-compassion may be indirectly related to activation via value-based behavior.

CONCLUSION: From the perspective of preventing depressive symptoms, it is important to increase the frequency of value-based activities. Furthermore, adding self-compassion is effective in behavioral activation to increase value-based activities. However, to address the limitations of this study, future studies should investigate the relationship among behavioral characteristics during interventions.

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