A preliminary study in the efficacy of ACT skills training for International student sojourners

Samuel Zimmer1, Christine Wang2

1 Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street Brisbane, QLD, 4000, samuel.zimmer@qut.edu.au  
2 Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street Brisbane, QLD, 4000, y68.wang@qut.edu.au

Thirty Chinese international students to Australia participated in an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) efficacy study for international student sojourners. The study aimed to evaluate whether an ACT skills training group would predict greater psychological adjustment and positive acculturation than the waitlisted control group undergoing the same transition to life and study in Australia. The ACT skills training group completed an ACT skills workbook in simplified Chinese, an ACT skills half-day workshop and regular fortnightly emails sent during the academic semester containing resources on how to apply the six core processes of ACT. The study aimed to measure pre and post effects for general mental health (GHQ-12) and positive acculturation (AARS). Process measures were also taken which included the acceptance and action questionnaire (AAQ-II) and the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI). Significant interaction effects were found for positive acculturation and mindfulness. Attrition and subsequent low sample size was a significant challenge for the study. A brief qualitative analysis supported the efficacy of the use of ACT skills training and resources for international students studying abroad.

Keywords: Intercultural Competence, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, International Students, Acculturation


Samuel Zimmer is a psychologist who works within the tertiary education sector. He’s also had experience working in academic language and learning, TESOL and within foster care, child safety and family therapy services. Samuel has a passion for supporting well being and transition among international students studying at Australian universities. He enjoys developing his professional  skills and knowledge in applied psychological practice with a particular interest in psychology and cultures.