Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Counseling, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Zanjan Branch, Zanjan, Iran


Background: The study focuses on the increasing rates of divorce and the need for effective therapeutic interventions to reduce marital conflict and emotional divorce. The current study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in reducing marital conflict and emotional divorce among women who are facing divorce and seeking services at Zanjan family counseling centers, Zanjan, Iran.
Methods: This quasi-experimental study was conducted in the second half of 2021. A convenience sampling method was used to recruit 20 participants from Zanjan family counseling centers, who were randomly allocated into two groups. The treatment group received ten sessions of 60 minutes twice a week (5 weeks) of acceptance and commitment therapy. The Marital Conflict Questionnaire and Emotional Divorce Scale were used as research tools to measure pretest and posttest scores. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance in SPSS version 24 to compare the mean scores for marital conflict and emotional divorce between the treatment and control groups.
Results: The findings of the study revealed that acceptance and commitment therapy was effective in reducing both marital conflict and emotional divorce scores in the treatment group compared to the control group. The mean score for marital conflict decreased significantly from 172.50±18.23 to 147.25±15.68 in the treatment group (P<0.001), while the control group showed no significant changes. The mean score for emotional divorce also decreased significantly from 2.35±16 to 1.93±12 in the treatment group (P<0.001), while the control group again showed no significant changes.
Conclusion: This research demonstrated that acceptance and commitment therapy is an effective psychotherapy for reducing marital conflict and emotional divorce in women at risk of divorce who referred to family counseling centers. The findings of this study have practical implications for counseling settings.


How to Cite: Naderi Moghaddam N, Panah Ali A, Naghi Aghdasi A, Hejazi M. The Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Marital Conflict and Emotional Divorce of Women Facing Divorce. Women. Health. Bull. 2023;10(2):122-132. doi: 10.30476/WHB.2023.97237.1204.


1. Daliri H. Identifying the Effective Economic Variables on Divorce in Iran. Women's Studies Sociological and Psychological. 2019;17(2):35-62. doi: 10.22051/jwsps.2019.27488.2050. Persian. ## 2. Dargahi H, Ghasemi M, Beiranvand A. The Impacts of Economic and Social Factors on Divorce Rate in Iran with Emphasis on Business Cycles, Women's Education and Employment. Journal of Economics and Modeling. 2019;9(4):95-120. Persian. ## 3. Farzanegan MR, Gholipour HF. Does Gold Price Matter for Divorce Rate in Iran? Journal of Family and Economic Issues. 2018;39(4):588-599. doi: 10.1007/s10834-018-9581-8. ## 4. Mirzanezhad B. The Effect of Problem-Solving Based Family Therapy on Emotional Intimacy and Marital Quality of Cultural Couples in Tabriz. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 2020;48(5):405-430. doi: 10.1080/01926187.2020.1765894. ## 5. Hajizadeh Meimandi M, Dehghan Chenary M. The relationship of healthy life style with marital life satisfaction among married women in Yazd. Journal of Woman in Culture Arts. 2015;7(1):61-76. doi: 10.22059/jwica.2015.56777. ## 6. Russell WP. Web of Human Experience in Couple and Family Therapy. In Lebow JL, Chambers AL, Breunlin DC, editors. Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2019. p. 3145-50. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_213. ## 7. Warren J, Wei DY. The low cycle fatigue behavior of the controlled transformation stainless steel alloy AM355 at 121, 204 and 315°C. Materials Science and Engineering: A. 2008;475(1-2):148-156. doi: 10.1016/j.msea.2007.05.021. ## 8. Schaan VK, Schulz A, Schächinger H, Vögele C. Parental divorce is associated with an increased risk to develop mental disorders in women. J Affect Disord. 2019;257:91-99. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.06.071. PubMed PMID: 31299409. ## 9. Pervin F, Chen WW. Effect of inter-species, gender, and breeding on the mechanical behavior of brain tissue. NeuroImage. 2011;54:S98-S102. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.03.077. PubMed PMID: 20362684. ## 10. Mohammadipour F, Atashzadeh-Shoorideh F, Parvizy S, Hosseini M. An Explanatory Study on the Concept of Nursing Presence from the Perspective of Patients Admitted to Hospitals. J Clin Nurs. 2017;26(23-24):4313-4324. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13758. PubMed PMID: 28178371. ## 11. Mousavi SF. The Comparison of Family Functioning, Marital Adjustment and Intimacy In Middle aged and Young Spouses. Intl Res J Appl Basic Sci. 2012;3(10):2015-2021. ## 12. Blackledge JT, Hayes SC. Emotion regulation in acceptance and commitment therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2001;57(2):243-255. doi: 10.1002/1097-4679(200102)57:2<243::AID-JCLP9>3.0.CO;2-X. ## 13. Hayes SC, Levin ME, Plumb-Vilardaga J, Villatte JL, Pistorello J. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Contextual Behavioral Science: Examining the Progress of a Distinctive Model of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy. Behav Ther. 2013;44(2):180-98. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2009.08.002. PubMed PMID: 23611068; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3635495. ## 14. Landy LN, Schneider RL, Arch JJ. Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders: a concise review. Current Opinion in Psychology. 2015;2:70-74. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2014.11.004. ## 15. Veehof MM, Oskam M-J, Schreurs KMG, Bohlmeijer ET. Acceptance-based interventions for the treatment of chronic pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Pain. 2011;152(3):533-542. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.002.PubMed PMID: 21251756. ## 16. Saadati N, Rostami M, Darbani SA. Comparing the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) on improving self-esteem and post-divorce adaptation in women. Journal of Family Psychology. 2021;3(2):45-58. Persian. ## 17. Abosaidi Moghadam N, Sanagouye Moharer G, Shirazi M. Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on feelings of loneliness, shame, and guilt in female applicants for divorce. Journal of Applied Psychology. 2020;14(1):35-54. doi: 10.52547/apsy.14.1.35. Persian. ## 18. Ghahari S, Jamil L, Farrokhi N, Davoodi R. Comparing the Effects of Emotion-focused Couple Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Marital Conflict and Emotion Regulation. PCP. 2021;9(2):121-132. doi: 10.32598/jpcp.9.2.718.1. ## 19. Shooshtari MH, Davari-Ashtiani R, Shahrivar Z, Shabani A, Semnani Y, Kaviani H, et al. Structured clinical interview for DSM-IV (SCID Persian translation and cultural adaptation). Iran J Psychiatry. 2007;2(1):46-48. ## 20. Zimmerman M, Morgan TA. The relationship between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2013;15(2):155-169. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2013.15.2/mzimmerman. PubMed PMID: 24174890; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3811087. ## 21. Shabani A, Masoumian S, Zamirinejad S, Hejri M, Pirmorad T, Yaghmaeezadeh H. Psychometric properties of Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Disorders-Clinician Version (SCID-5-CV). Brain Behav. 2021;11(5):e01894. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1894. PubMed PMID: 33729681; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8119811. ## 22. Lobbestael J, Leurgans M, Arntz A. Inter-rater reliability of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID I) and Axis II Disorders (SCID II). Clin Psychol Psychother. 2011;18(1):75-9. doi: 10.1002/cpp.693.PubMed PMID: 20309842. ## 23. Sanaii B, Barati T, Bostanipour A. Scales of marriage and family assessment. Tehran: Besat; 2009. Persian. ## 24. Akhavan Bitaghsir Z, Sanaee Zaker B, Navabinejad S, Farzad VA. Comparetive of Emotional Focused Couple Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Marital Adjustment and Marital Satisfaction. Iran J Health Educ Health Promot. 2017;5(2):121-128. doi: 10.30699/acadpub.ijhehp.5.2.121. Persian. ## 25. Ghamari M. The effectiveness of solution-focused counseling in decreasing different dimensions of marital conflict of dual-career couples. Journal of Family research. 2009;5(3):347-59. ## 26. Bodenmann G, Hilpert P, Nussbeck FW, Bradbury TN. Enhancement of couples' communication and dyadic coping by a self-directed approach: a randomized controlled trial. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2014;82(4):580-91. doi: 10.1037/a0036356. PubMed PMID: 24660673. ## 27. Parseh M, Naderi F, Mehrabizade Honarmand M. Efficacy of Cognitive– Behavioral Family Therapy on Marital Conflicts and Sexual Satisfaction in Couples Referred to Psychological Centers. Achievements of Clinical Psychology. 2015;1(1):125-148. doi: 10.22055/jacp.2015.11510. Persian. ## 28. Dousti F, Mirzahosseini H, Zargham Hajebi M. Prediction of Marital Conflicts Based on a Systems Approach with the Mediating Role of Attachment Styles. Social Determinants of Health. 2022;8(1):1-9. doi: 10.22037/sdh.v8i1.36337. ## 29. Sahebihagh M, Khorshidi Z, Atri S, Jafarabadi M. Investigating the relationship between self-efficacy and emotional divorce among nurses in the city of Rasht, Iran (2015). Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 2017;10(6):1596. doi: 10.4103/ATMPH.ATMPH_536_17. ## 30. Kalmijn M, Monden CWS. Are the Negative Effects of Divorce on Well-Being Dependent on Marital Quality? Journal of Marriage and Family. 2006;68(5):1197-213. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00323.x. ## 31. Mirzadeh Koohshahi F, Rezaei A, Najafi M. Construction and Validation of Emotional Divorce Scale in Iranian Population. PCP. 2019;7(1):53-62. doi: 10.32598/PCP.7.1.53. ## 32. Zareh Zardini S, Jafari A, Ghamari M. Prediction of Marital Burnout Based on Feelings of Loneliness and Emotional Divorce in Infertile Women. J Research Health. 2021;11(5):323-332. doi: 10.32598/JRH.11.5.1854.1. ## 33. Siahpoosh S, GolestaniBakht T. The effect of acceptance and commitment therapy on psychological flexibility and emotion regulation in divorced women. Feyz. 2020;24(4):413-423. Persian. ## 34. Aalami M, Taimory S, Ahi G, Bayazi Mh. The Effectiveness of an Integrated Approach of Schema Therapy based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Marital Conflicts and Divorce Tendency in Divorce Applicant Couples. RBS. 2020;18(1):132-141. doi: 10.52547/rbs.18.1.13. Persian. ## 35. Biglan A, Hayes SC, Pistorello J. Acceptance and commitment: Implications for prevention science. Prev Sci. 2008;9(3):139-52. doi: 10.1007/s11121-008-0099-4. PubMed PMID: 18690535; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2727477. ## 36. Eilenberg T, Kronstrand L, Fink P, Frostholm L. Acceptance and commitment group therapy for health anxiety – Results from a pilot study. J Anxiety Disord. 2013;27(5):461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.06.001.PubMed PMID: 23871841. ## 37. Fruzzetti AE, Iverson KM. Mindfulness and Acceptance: Expanding the Cognitive Behavioral Tradition. In Hayes S, Follette V, Linehan M, editors: Mindfulness, acceptance, validation, and "individual" psychopathology in couples. Guilford; 2011. p. 168-91. ## 38. Akhavan Gholami M, Hayati M. The effectiveness of treatment based on acceptance and commitment (ACT) therapy on ineffective communication beliefs and marital adjustment of discordant women. Knowledge & Research in Applied Psychology. 2019;20(3):31-43. doi: 10.30486/jsrp.2019.564265.1265. Persian. ## 39. Ghouchani SR, Molavi N, Massah O, Sadeghi M, Mousavi SH, Noroozi M, et al. Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on aggression of patients with psychosis due to methamphetamine use: A pilot study. Journal of Substance Use. 2018;23(4):402-407. doi: 10.1080/14659891.2018.1436602. ## 40. Mani A, Mehdipour Z, Ahmadzadeh L, Tahmasebi S, Khabir L, Mosalaei A. The Effectiveness of Group Acceptance and Commitment Psychotherapy on Psychological Well-being of Breast Cancer Patients in Shiraz, Iran. Middle East Journal of Cancer. 2019;10(3):231-238. doi: 10.30476/mejc.2019.45316. ## 41. Fayazbakhsh E, Mansouri A. Effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy on intolerance of uncertainty, experiential avoidance, and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in individuals with Type II diabetes. International Archives of Health Sciences. 2019;6(1):30. doi: 10.4103/iahs.iahs_52_18. ## 42. Heydari M, Masafi S, Jafari M, Saadat SH, Shahyad S. Effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy on anxiety and depression of Razi psychiatric center staff. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018;6(2):410-415. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2018.064. PubMed PMID: 29531615; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5839459. ##