Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Social & Behavioral Sciences


Online and Continuing Education

Faculty Advisor(s)

Scott Vandehey & Tanya Tompkins

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis | Cognitive Behavioral Therapy | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychology


Public interest in mental health care modernization has steadily gained momentum since ratifying The United States Health Care Affordability Act (U.S. Office of the Legislative Counsel, 2010). Furthermore, with 1 in every 1000 people seeking online support for mental health issues (DeAndrea & Anthony, 2013), research concerning the development of virtual mental health applications is critical to ensure science guides their innovation. To this end, this study explores the feasibility of a mental health intervention that unites the experiential, recovery-oriented, and self-determined values of mental health peer support (Kaufman et al., 2014) with dialectical behavior therapy skills training (DBT-ST) (Linehan, 1993b) (Linehan, 2014a) (Linehan, 2014b) in a massive open online course (MOOC) format to create an adjunct, no-cost, DBT-ST resource for people with emotional difficulties. People stagnating on program waitlists, lacking access to comprehensive DBT, who want to brush up on prior DBT-ST, or who are simply curious and want to learn more about DBT-ST are most likely to benefit from this novel intervention. The pilot DBT-ST MOOC offers a robust user interface (see Appendix A for details), which increases flexibility in time and space and costs little to nothing compared to traditional brick and mortar learning environments (Hu, 2013). The DBT-ST program teaches all four skill sets prescribed in standard DBT: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills, respectively (see Figure 1) while presenting an introduction to the rapidly growing field of DBT-oriented Internet applications.