Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology – Presentations

"Management of Experiential Avoidance in a College Population"

by Alba Rocio Andrade and Jamie Bedics

The concept of experiential avoidance has been increasingly used as an explanatory mechanism for a range of psychological problems—from substance abuse to suicide, and has been identified as a contributing factor leading to depression (Hayes et al., 2004; Martell, Addis, & Jacobson, 2001). Despite these outcomes, little research has been conducted exploring the association between experiential avoidance and its relationship to happiness.


The purpose of this study was to determine if the effect of experiential avoidance on an individual's level of happiness or life satisfaction will be mediated by the individual's values, ability to cope with stressful events and his or her ability to cognitively defuse negative thoughts. Participants consisted of 16 male and 42 female students at California Lutheran University between the ages of 18 to 46. All students completed a self-administered survey packet containing an avoidance questionnaire, a cognitive diffusion scale, a coping scale, a values inventory, a subjective happiness scale, and life satisfaction scale. A multiple regression analysis indicated that coping and values did not have an effect on the relationship between experiential avoidance and happiness or satisfaction with life. Cognitive diffusion did not have a mediating effect on experiential avoidance and happiness, however it did have an effect on the relationship between experiential avoidance and life satisfaction.

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