Implementation and Evaluation of Course-based Training for Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills in a Turkish University

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Hayriye Gulec


The main objective of this study was to implement group skills training based upon Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in a Turkish university, then evaluate its potential in reducing emotional distress (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress) and improving mindfulness and emotion regulation. It also examined the predictors of emotional well-being at the end of the intervention period. A total of 69 senior psychology students underwent a 14-week modified DBT skills training course in three separate groups in a classroom environment. Participants completed questionnaires related to mindfulness, emotion regulation, and emotional distress at the beginning and end of the intervention. The end results demonstrated significant reductions in anxiety and stress, and significant increases in mindfulness and emotion regulation. There was a significant positive association between baseline and post-intervention levels of emotional distress. Better emotional regulation predicted lower emotional distress at the end of the training. Participants with higher emotion regulation difficulties at baseline were more likely to benefit from the intervention. This study contributed further evidence to the potential of DBT skills training as an evidence-based approach to address the emotional well-being of university students. It also provided initial data for how the DBT skills training might work as a well-being approach in a nonclinical setting. Larger-scale controlled studies, including students from diverse backgrounds, are required to generalize the findings of the study. 

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