Chronic muscle diseases (MD) are progressive and cause wasting and weakness in muscles and are associated with reduced quality of life (QoL). The ACTMuS trial examined whether Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as an adjunct to usual care improved QoL for such patients as compared to usual care alone.

This two-arm, randomised, multicentre, parallel design recruited 155 patients with MD (Hospital and Depression Scale ⩾ 8 for depression or ⩾ 8 for anxiety and Montreal Cognitive Assessment ⩾ 21/30). Participants were randomised, using random block sizes, to one of two groups: standard medical care (SMC) (n = 78) or to ACT in addition to SMC (n = 77), and were followed up to 9 weeks. The primary outcome was QoL, assessed by the Individualised Neuromuscular Quality of Life Questionnaire (INQoL), the average of five subscales, at 9-weeks. Trial registration was NCT02810028.

138 people (89.0%) were followed up at 9-weeks. At all three time points, the adjusted group difference favoured the intervention group and was significant with moderate to large effect sizes. Secondary outcomes (mood, functional impairment, aspects of psychological flexibility) also showed significant differences between groups at week 9.

ACT in addition to usual care was effective in improving QoL and other psychological and social outcomes in patients with MD. A 6 month follow up will determine the extent to which gains are maintained.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological medicine
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022


  • muscle diseases
  • acceptance and commitment therapy
  • quality of life
  • randomised controlled trial


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