Document Type



The present study describes the development of a short,
general measure of experiential avoidance, based on a specific
theoretical approach to this process. A theoretically driven iterative
exploratory analysis using structural equation modeling on data
from a clinical sample yielded a single factor comprising 9 items.
A fully confirmatory factor analysis upheld this same 9-item factor
in an independent clinical sample. The operational characteristics
of the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ) were then
examined in 8 additional samples. All totaled, over 2,400 participants were studied. As expected, higher levels of
experiential avoidance were associated with higher levels of
general psychopathology, depression, anxiety, a variety of specific
fears, trauma, and a lower quality of life. The AAQ related to more
specific measures of avoidant coping and to self-deceptive
positivity, but the relation to psychopathology could not be fully
accounted for by these alternative measures. The data provide
some initial support for the model of experiential avoidance based
on Relational Frame Theory that is incorporated into Acceptance
and Commitment Therapy, and provides researchers with a
preliminary measure for use in population-based studies on
experiential avoidance.