Does acceptance lead to change? Training in radical acceptance improves implementation of cognitive reappraisal

Or Segal, Helene Sher, Idan M. Aderka, Noam Weinbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Third-wave cognitive behavioral treatments such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) theorize that emotional acceptance facilitates cognitive change. However, empirical evidence to support this notion is scarce. This study assessed how a two-week online training in using acceptance or cognitive change DBT skills influences the implementation of these strategies in an emotion regulation task. During six training sessions, 120 healthy individuals recorded personal negative events. In a Radical Acceptance group, participants implemented a DBT skill aimed to promote acceptance of the negative events they described. In a Check the Facts group, participants reappraised their interpretations of the described events. A Control group described negative events but did not use any DBT skill. Results supported our preregistered hypotheses showing that following the training, participants who practiced Radical Acceptance improved in their ability to implement both emotional acceptance and cognitive reappraisal (cognitive change) in an emotion regulation task. In contrast, the Check the Facts group improved only in the ability to use cognitive reappraisal, but not emotional acceptance. The control group did not improve in either strategy. The findings provide empirical evidence to support the notion that cultivating acceptance can subsequently improve the ability to reinterpret reality for coping adaptively with negative events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104303
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Cognitive reappraisal
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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