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Abstract

Experiential avoidance (EA) is a regulatory strategy characterised by efforts to control or avoid unpleasant thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Most studies of EA have used trait measures without considering the effects of EA on psychological functioning in naturalistic settings. To address this gap, we used daily diary methodology to examine the influence of EA of anxiety on everyday well-being. For two weeks, 89 participants provided daily reports of EA, positive and negative affect, enjoyment of daily events and meaning in life (MIL). Daily EA predicted higher negative affect, lower positive affect, less enjoyment of daily events (exercising, eating food and listening to music) and less MIL. The effect of EA on positive affect was not accounted for by the amount of negative affect experienced. Our daily measure of EA was a stronger predictor of daily well-being than a traditional trait measure (The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire). Taken together, results offer insights into the adverse effects of EA on daily well-being and suggest that EA is a context-specific regulatory strategy that might be best captured using a state-dependent measure.
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Experiential avoidance and well-being: A
daily diary analysis
Kyla A. Machell
a
, Fallon R. Goodman
a
& Todd B. Kashdan
a
a
Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Published online: 06 May 2014.
To cite this article: Kyla A. Machell, Fallon R. Goodman & Todd B. Kashdan (2014): Experiential avoidance
and well-being: A daily diary analysis, Cognition & Emotion, DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2014.911143
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2014.911143
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BRIEF REPORT
Experiential avoidance and well-being: A daily diary
analysis
Kyla A. Machell, Fallon R. Goodman, and Todd B. Kashdan
Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Experiential avoidance (EA) is a regulatory strategy characterised by efforts to control or avoid
unpleasant thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Most studies of EA have used trait measures
without considering the effects of EA on psychological functioning in naturalistic settings. To address
this gap, we used daily diary methodology to examine the influence of EA of anxiety on everyday well-
being. For two weeks, 89 participants provided daily reports of EA, positive and negative affect,
enjoyment of daily events and meaning in life (MIL). Daily EA predicted higher negative affect,
lower positive affect, less enjoyment of daily events (exercising, eating food and listening to music) and
less MIL. The effect of EA on positive affect was not accounted for by the amount of negative affect
experienced. Our daily measure of EA was a stronger predictor of daily well-being than a traditional
trait measure (The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire). Taken together, results offer insights into
the adverse effects of EA on daily well-being and suggest that EA is a context-specific regulatory
strategy that might be best captured using a state-dependent measure.
Keywords: Experiential avoidance; Well-being; Daily diary methodology.
Experiential avoidance (EA) is a regulatory strategy
characterised by efforts to control or avoid unpleas-
ant thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations (Hayes,
Luoma, Bond, Masuda, & Lillis, 2006). A growing
body of evidence suggests that EA tends to be a
maladaptive emotion regulation strategy linked
with a lower quality of life (Hayes et al., 2004)
and worse emotional and psychological well-being
(Kashdan, Barrios, Forsyth, & Steger, 2006).
Unfortunately, nearly every published study of EA
has relied on a global trait questionnaire to assess
the presence of EAparticipants are asked to
endorse general statements about unwanted
thoughts, feelings and sensations across time and
context such as Anxiety is bad and I am able to
take action on a problem even if I am uncertain
Correspondence should be addressed to: Todd B. Kashdan, Department of Psychology, George Mason University, MS 3F5,
Fairfax, VA 22030, USA. E-mail: tkashdan@gmu.edu
Todd B. Kashdan was financially supported as the Senior Scientist of the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, George
Mason University; Fallon Goodman was financially supported by the same centre with a fellowship.
© 2014 Taylor & Francis
1
COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
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what is the right thing to do (rated from 1 = never
true to 7 = always true) (Hayes et al., 2004).
Emotion regulation theorists have argued that EA
is not a static feature of humanity and, instead, is a
state-dependent process that is sensitive to social
contexts (Gross & John, 2003; Kashdan, Farmer
et al., 2013). The current study adopted this
dynamic within-person approach to EA to study
the association with three core components of well-
being: affect, enjoyment of pleasurable events and a
sense of meaning in life (MIL).
EA AND WELL-BEING
There is a substantial body of research suggesting
that rigid adherence to inhibitory emotion regula-
tion strategies is detrimental to psychological well-
being. Inhibition of outward emotional expression
has been linked to increases in unwanted emoti onal
experiences (Gross & Levenson, 1997). Similarly,
avoidance of internal emotional experience is
thought to be an unhelpful emotion regulation
strategy linked with poor ps ychological functioning
(Kashdan et al., 2006). When people are asked to
suppress negative emotions, they report a tempor-
ary success in down-regulating initial discomfort,
but ultimately experience a rebound effect whereby
undesirable emotions increase (Hayes, Strosahl, &
Wilson, 1999). EA is one such strategy that is
employed to reduce distress, yet has the paradoxical
effect of increasing unwanted emotional experi-
ences (Hayes, Wilson, Gifford, Follette, & Strosahl,
1996). Research has demonstrated the temporal role
of EA of anxiety in increasing the very symptoms
of anxiety that were the target of the avoidance
(Kashdan et al., in press). Although use of inhibitory
regulation strategies increases negative emotions, the
same is not true for positive emotions. Experimental
research on the use of suppression strategies suggests
that attempts to inhibit emotional expression not
only increase negative emotions but also decrease
positive emotions (Gross & John, 2003). Experience
sampling research demonstrates a similar finding for
EA: people who score high on a trait measure of
EA report more daily negative affect and less daily
positive affect than people with lower EA scores
(Kashdan et al., 2006), suggesting that EA interferes
with well-being.
In addition to emotional disturbances, EA may
interfere with the enjoyment of everyday events by
draining resources necessary for attention and
engagement. In any given moment, human beings
possess finite cognitive resources and physical
stamina. Expending valuable energy on EA pulls a
person away from what is unfolding in the present
moment, reducing their potential to devote effort
and make progress towards valued goals (Hayes
et al., 2006). People who are hyper-focused on
regulating, avoiding and concealing emotions direct
their attention inward and, in turn, are less able to
attend and respond to pleasant life events. This
could apply to events beyond those that are very
positive or highly arousing. Devoting excessive time
to avoid unwanted emotions (internally and extern-
ally) is likely to reduce the available mental resources
needed to enjoy the most basic pleasurable events
(e.g., exercising, eating food, listening to music,
having sex). Attempts to rid certain emotions to
prevent adverse experiences may effectively reduce
other emotions that are in fact highly desirable.
EA inhibits the approach-oriented behaviours
necessary to seek out and enjoy valued experiences
(Hayes et al., 1999) that may contribute to a sense
of MIL, which is widely considered a component
of ones broader subjective well-being (e.g., Steger,
Kashdan, & Oishi, 2008). Indeed, EA (measured
as a stable, global trait) has been associated with
decreased global (Kashda n & Breen, 2007) and
daily (Kashdan et al., 2006) MIL. Because indi-
viduals who use EA are less able to be in contact
with and enjoy daily events, and tend to experience
more daily negative affect and less daily positive
affect, they may perceive their daily lives as less
meaningful.
EA AND WELL-BEING AS DYNAMIC
DAILY PROCESSES
Despite the common conceptualisations of EA as
an inflexible regulatory strategy (e.g., Hayes et al.,
1996; Kashdan et al., 2006), the effects of using EA
are not uniform across all situations and may differ
MACHELL, GOODMAN, KASHDAN
2 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
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between and within individuals. A person-by-
situation approach to emotion regulation suggests
that, rather than categorising regulatory strategies
as either helpful or harmful, the adaptiveness of
emotion regulation strategies depends on the con-
text in which they are used (Aldao, 2013;Kashdan
& Rottenberg, 2010). For example, the effects of EA
have been shown to vary in response to changing
situational demands (Kashdan et al., in press) and
individual goals (Kashda n & Breen, 2007). This
research ties EA back to theoretical frameworks
that sugges t this is a dynamic process (Hayes et al.,
1996, 2004) that cannot be studied with static
measurement approaches. Accordingly, the status
quo of assessing EA as a dispositional trait does not
adequately capture how the effects of EA might
change depending on the situation, nor does it
provide information on how EA affects psycholo-
gical functioning in the context of daily life.
Recent daily diary studies have begun to assess
EA as a state-dependent construct, with findings
that highlight the need to study EA across time
and situation. For example, Shahar and Herr
(2011) found that healthy individuals tend to use
EA on days when they experience more negative
affect, but depressed individu als demonstrate a
more inflexible pattern of use and rely on EA even
at low levels of daily negative affect. This nuanced
relationship would not have emerged had these
researchers used a traditional global measure of
EA, such as both versions of the Acceptance and
Action Questionnaire (AAQ; Bond et al., 2011;
Hayes et al., 2004) and the Multidimensional
Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire (Gamez,
Chmielewski, Kotov, Ruggero, & Watson, 2011).
Well-being also fluctuates on a daily basis and
may vary meaningfully within individuals. A robust
literature on intra-individual variability in mood
demonstrates that levels of positive and negative
affect change from day to day (e.g., Eid & Diener,
1999). Daily diary studies have illustrated daily
fluctuations in MIL, with one study demonstrating
that the majority of variability in MIL judgments
was within people (82%) rather than between
people (King, Hicks, Krull, & Del Gaiso, 2006).
To fully understand how EA impacts well-being,
we must examine these relationships in the context
of peoples daily lives. The current study is the first
to use a dynamic approach to EA and well-being.
THE PRESENT STUDY
The inverse association between EA and well-being
is largely based on measures of EA as a fixed trait
rather than a dynamic state. As a result, researchers
possess limited knowledge of how EA impacts
well-being in the context of daily life. To address
this gap, we conducted a daily diary study examin-
ing the influence of daily EA of anxiety on daily
well-being. Rather than creating a single, global
construct of well-being as an outcome, we relied on
core components of subjective well-being from
dominant theories and empirical research (e.g.,
Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999; McKnight &
Kashdan, 2009) positive and negative affect,
enjoyment of daily events and daily MIL. We
hypothesised that daily EA of anxiety would predict
less positive affect, more negative affect, less enjoy-
ment of daily events and less daily MIL. To address
the importance of using a dynamic approach, we
examined whether daily EA predicted indicators of
well-being over and above an exi sting trait measure
of EA.
METHOD
We report how we determined our sample size, all
data exclusions, all manipulations and all measures
in the study. The current study is one of a series of
papers derived from a larger data-set collected to
understand emotion and emotion regulation in
daily life. Measures not examined in the current
study are reported elsewhere (DeWall, Lambert,
Pond, Kashdan, & Fincham, 2013, Stu dy 2; Farmer
& Kashdan, 2012; Kashdan, Dewall et al., 2013,
Study 3; Kashdan & Nezlek, 2012; Kashdan,
Yarbro, McKnight, & Nezlek, 2014 ). Data were
collected in two waves from a total of 173 participants.
Measures of EA were only collected during the
second wave, which included the 95 participants
we discuss below.
EXPERIENTIAL AVOIDANCE IN DAILY LIFE
COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
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Participants
Participants were 95 college students (82% women;
54% Caucasian; mean age = 21.10, SD = 2.12) who
participated for course credit. Of these participants,
89 (81% women; 54% Caucasian; mean age =
21.18, SD = 2.22) completed questions about EA
and well-being at the end of the day for two weeks.
These 89 participants provided 1261 valid daily
entries (M = 14.17, SD = 2.25). A valid entry had to
be completed between 6:00 pm of the day in
question and 10:00 am of the following day.
Procedure
Participants were recruited via flyers and online
advertisements. Small groups of participants
attended meetings (1.5 hours) during which they
completed demographic and trait measures, and
where instructions were given about web-based
daily data collection. Participants were asked to
complete their daily reports at the end of each day
(before going to sleep) for 14 consecutive days.
Date and time stamps were inspected to ensure
compliance with these guidelines. Throughout the
study, participants received weekly email remin-
ders, and all study instructions were available
online.
Daily measures
At the end of each day of the study, participants
logged onto the secure website to provide daily
measures of EA, positive and negative affect,
enjoyment of exercising, eating food, listening to
music, having sex, and MIL. Daily measures used
modifications of items from corresponding trait
measures to include a specific focus on the day as
the unit of analysis. Reliability estimates for the
daily measures are presented in the Results section.
Experiential avoidance
Daily EA was measured using a 4-item state
measure of EA (Kashdan, Farmer, et al., 2013).
Participants answered, How upset and distressed
over anxiety were you?, How much effort did
you put into making anxiety-related feelings or
thoughts go away?, How much did you struggle
to control your anxiety-related feelings or
thoughts? and To what extent did you give up
saying or doing what you like (or mattered to you)
in order to control and manage your anxiety?
Participants answered using a 7-point scale with
endpoints 1 = not at all and 7 = very much.In
the current sample, this measure had a correlation
of .82 with a measure of daily suppression of
negative emotions, demonstrating acceptable con-
vergent validity, and has also shown acceptable
reliability and validity in past research (Kashdan,
Farmer et al., 2013).
Positive and negative affect
Daily positive and negative affect was measured by
responses to six positively valenced adjectives
(excited, enthusiastic, happy, relaxed, calm and
satisfied) and six negatively valenced adjectives
(nervous, embarrassed, upset, sad, bored and disap-
pointed). Participants answered using a 7-point
scale with endpoints 1 = Did not feel this way at
all and 7 = Felt this way very strongly.
Event enjoyment
Daily enjoyment of exercising, eating food, listen-
ing to music and having sex was measured by
responses to the item How much pleasure did you
experience today from (respective activity)? Parti-
cipants answered using a 7-point scale with end-
points 1 = not at all and 7 = very much.
Meaning in life
Daily MIL was measured with the Daily Meaning
Scale (Steger et al., 2008), a 2-item scale asking
How meaningful did you feel your life was
today? and How much did you feel your life
had purpose today? Participants answered using a
7-point scale with endpoints 1 = not at all and
7=very much.
Trait measures
Experiential avoidance
The AAQ (Hayes et al., 2004) is a 9-item measure
of EA that assesses tendencies to make negative
MACHELL, GOODMAN, KASHDAN
4 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
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evaluations of private events (e.g., anxiety is bad ),
unwillingness to remain in contact with these
events, the need/desire to control or alter these
events and the inability to take action in the face of
negatively evaluated private events. The psycho-
metric properties of this scale have been established
in both clinical and non-clinical samples (e.g.,
Feldner, Zvolensky, Eifert, & Spira, 2003 ; Hayes
et al., 2004). Participants responded to items using
a 7-point Likert scale (α = .69). Higher scores
indicate greater EA. The mean score on the AAQ
was 33.40 (SD = 8.59).
Anxiety
Because our measure of EA emphasised avoidance
of anxiety, the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale
(SIAS; Mattick & Clarke, 199 8 ) was included to
measure baseline levels of anxiety in our sample.
The SIAS is a 20-item measure of participants fear
and avoidance of social interactions. Participants
responded to items using a 5-point Likert scale
(α = .89). The mean score on the SIAS was 24.94
(SD = 14.18), with 20 participants (23%) reporting
clinical levels of anxiety (scores > 34). Participants
social anxiety scores were comparable to other
undergraduate samples. In the original validation
paper for the SIAS, Mattick and Clarke (1998 )
reported a mean score of 19.0 (SD = 10.1) for
undergraduate participants. Another study exam-
ining social anxiety in college students reported a
mean SIAS score of 22.38 (SD = 15.40; Purdon,
Antony, Monteiro, & Swinson, 2001).
RESULTS
Analytic strategy
Our prim ary interest was in the slope between EA
on a given day and (1) positive and negative affect,
(2) event enjoyment and (3) MIL. The data were
conceptualised as hierarchically nested with days
nested within persons. Analyses were conducted
with a series of multilevel models using the
programme HLM (Raudenbush, Bryk, Cheong,
& Congdon, 2000).
Daily measures: Descriptive statistics
The reliability of the daily measures was examined
by conducting three-level models with items
nested within days, and days nested within people.
These reliability estimates (presented in Table 1)
provide evidence for the acceptable reliability of
each daily measure. Because the event enjoyment
measures consisted of only one item, the reliability
estimate was not calculated. Upon examining the
partitioning of variance, we found that there was
greater within-person variability than between-
person variability for each measure. These results
support our approach of conducting within-person
(day-level) analyses.
Table 1. Descriptive statistics for daily measures
M (SD)
Between-person
variability
Within-person
variability
Item-level
reliability
Daily experiential avoidance 2.48 (1.37) .31 .61 .80
Positive affect 4.20 (1.25) .27 .73 .79
Negative affect 2.20 (1.05) .33 .68 .64
Enjoyment of exercising 2.32 (1.86) .26 .74
Enjoyment of eating food 4.05 (1.67) .30 .70
Enjoyment of listening to
music
4.42 (2.03) .29 .71
Enjoyment of having sex 2.18 (2.10) .42 .58
Meaning in life 9.02 (3.21) .47 .53 .86
Note: The four enjoyment items are single items and thus, reliability cannot be calculated. We kept them separate because they describe
discrete, concrete activities.
EXPERIENTIAL AVOIDANCE IN DAILY LIFE
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Daily EA and daily well-being
Our initial analyses examined within-person rela-
tionships between daily EA and daily positive and
negative affect, event enjoyment and MIL. Daily
EA served as the predictor and daily well-being
variables served as outcomes. Daily EA was entered
group-mean centred, which meant that coefficients
described relationships between deviations from a
persons mean score on daily EA and the outcome
measures. The null hypothesis in these analyses was
that the mean within-person relationship between
EA and a measure of well-being was 0. This was
tested by the γ
10
coefficient in the last of the three
equations below.
Day level: y
ij
¼ b
0j
þ b
1j
Daily EAðÞþr
ij
Person-level intercept: b
0j
¼ c
00
þ u
0j
Person-level slope: b
1j
¼ c
10
þ u
1j
As expected, EA predicted less positive affect,
B = .39, t(88) = 11.60, p < .001, and more
negative affect, B = .42, t(88) = 16.00, p < .001.
Daily EA predicted less enjoyment of exercising,
B = .14, t(88) = 3.00, p < .01, eating food,
B = .18, t(88) = 4.06, p < .001, and listening to
music, B = .12, t(88) = 2.20, p < .05. Daily
EA was unrelated to enjoyment of having sex,
B = .01, t(88) = .20, p = .84. Daily EA
predicted less daily MIL, B = .46, t(88) =
5.63, p < .001.
Trait EA and daily well-being
Additional analyses examined the relationship
between tra it EA measured by the AAQ and daily
indicators of well-being. In these models, trait and
daily EA served as predictors and the daily well-
being variables served as outcomes. Entering both
trait and daily EA as simultaneous predictors of
daily well-being revealed that only daily EA
significantly predicted less positive affect, B =
.39, t(84) = 11.53, p < .001, more negative
affect, B = .42, t(84) = 16.16, p < .001, less
enjoyment of exercising, B = .15, t(84) = 3.28,
p < .01, eating food, B = .18, t(84) = 4.36, p <
.001, listening to music, B = .12, t(84) = 2.24,
p < .05, and less MIL, B = .46, t(84) = 5.47,
p < .001. Trait EA did not significantly predict
variance in any of the daily indicators of well-
being beyond that being predicted by the state
measure of EA (ps ranged from .10 to .80).
Construct specificity with negative affect
As expected, daily EA and daily negative affect
were positively related, B = .43, t(88) = 15.63, p <
.01. To test whether the effects of trying to avoid
unpleasant experiences is best explained by the
intensity/frequency of negative experiences, we
used negative affect as a covariate in subsequent
analyses. We conducted multilevel analyses with
daily EA and daily negative affect as simultaneous
predictors of daily well-being variables. Upon
controlling for daily negative affect (a conservative
test), EA still predi cted less daily positive affect,
B = .16, t (88) = 5.01, p < .001, but no longer
predicted decreased daily MIL, B = .06,
t(88) = .74, p >.40. When we included negative
affect as a predictor, EA approached significance
for predicting enjoyment of eating food, B = .09,
t(88) = 1.94, p = .055; when negative affect
was added as a covariate, EA was no longer a
significant predictor of enjoyment of exercising or
listening to music (ps >.05).
DISCUSSION
The present study assessed EA as a state-depend-
ent variable to determine the effects of EA of
anxiety on everyday experiences. Results suggest
that EA is detrimental to daily well-being and
may influence the extent to which peoples well-
being fluctuates from day to day. Using EA on a
given day predicted more daily negative affect, and
less daily positive affect, enjoyment of daily events
and daily MIL. Daily EA was a better predictor of
these indicators of daily well-being than disposi-
tional (trait) levels of EA. One explanation is that
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some effects of EA might be a function of the
amount of negative affect experienced on a given
day. When negative affect was accounted for, daily
EA was still related to less daily positive affect and
approached significance for less enjoyment of
eating food. EA no longer predicted enjoyment
of exercising or listening to music, or daily MIL.
Our data support prior work that EA prevents
reward responsiveness to daily life activities. While
there is a rich theoretical framework that suggests
EA negatively impacts well-being by interfering
with the ability to pursue valued life goals (Hayes
et al., 1999), few studies have examined how this
process unfolds over the course of daily life. Our
results provide evidence that the pernicious effects
of EA can be observed on a daily basis and that
using EA disrupts indicators of daily well-being.
Further, we provide contextual evidence of how
EA can be problematic in everyday life by hinder-
ing the ability to extract rewards from everyday
experiences.
Our results emphasise the importance of study-
ing EA as a dynamic process rather than as a fixed
trait. While trait measures like the AAQ predict
other trait phenomena (such as global indicators of
well-being), these traditional global approaches to
measurement may be problematic if one is interes-
ted in capturing dynamic, contextual phenomena.
Measuring EA as a stable, between-person con-
struct fails to capture the natural fluctuations in the
use of EA to regulate emotions and as a result
appears to offer less utility in understanding peo-
ples quality of life.
Although our methods extended the study of
EA beyond traditional trait measures and single-
occasion measurement, our results should be inter-
preted in the light of several limitations. First,
several researchers have highlighted concerns about
our trait measure of EA (the AAQ-9), including
issues with item wording and scale brevity, and
suggest the use of the updated, more psychome-
trically sound version of the AAQ (AAQ-II, Bond
et al., 2011). In addition, the AAQ represents a
broader, global measure of EA, whereas our 4-item
measure of EA is a narrower, facet measure of EA.
As a result, conclusions drawn about the predictive
validity of our state measure over the more
traditional trait measure might be limited. Because
our measure of EA was restricted to the avoidance
of anxiety, and not global/general negative affect,
the implications of our results cannot extend to all
instances of EA. Future research should examine
how state measures of EA directe d to thoughts,
feelings, impulses and bodily sensations beyond the
scope of anxiety impact daily well-being. Future
research should examine how state measures of
other types of EA impact daily well-being. Our
state measures are self-report measures that parti-
cipants completed at the end of the day, albeit in the
context of an intense, repeated measurement
design. Future research might consider additional
measurement approaches that minimise recall bias,
such as event-contingent reporting where partici-
pants report events as they occur.
Our convenience sample of college students,
mostly women, limits the generalisability of these
results to other populations. Replications are neces-
sary to explore whether the same relationship
between daily EA and decreased daily well-bein g
is consistent within other age groups. Additionally,
while positive and negative affect, event enjoyment
and MIL are important elements of well-being,
there are a large number of well-being indicators
that were not measured in this study. We look
forward to future research that expands upon our
results by examining the effect s of EA on additional
components of well-being, such as life satisfaction,
personal growth, wisdom and the capacity to love
and be loved.
Despite these limitations, our findings provide
new insights into the adverse consequences of EA
on well-being and the importance of moving
beyond trait measures when attempting to under-
stand emotion regulation. Future research should
examine the use of EA in various situatio ns (i.e.,
before and after specific social interactions) to
further explore how and when EA is detrimental
to well-being. Researchers also might benefit from
using multiple daily assessments to assess temporal
sequences that may exist between daily EA and
well-being. For example, a recent study demon-
strated the temporal role of EA in eliciting
feelings of social anxiety (Kashdan et al., in press).
Increasing our knowledge of how EA disrupts
EXPERIENTIAL AVOIDANCE IN DAILY LIFE
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well-being is important, but equally and perhaps
even more important is to begin investigating ways
to counteract the negative impact of using EA.
Insight into other daily processes that might
dampen or strengthen the relationship between
EA and daily well-being will provide guidance to
both researchers and clinicians interested in
decreasing distress and promoting well-being.
Manuscript received 14 October 2013
Revised manuscript received 24 March 2014
Manuscript accepted 28 March 2014
First published online 2 May 2014
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EXPERIENTIAL AVOIDANCE IN DAILY LIFE
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... Psychological inflexibility refers to the tendency to down-regulate unwanted thoughts and feelings (Hayes et al., 1996;Bond et al., 2011), and becomes life constricting when it occurs across life domains and regardless of contextual circumstances that suggest its utilization is unworkable. Psychological inflexibility is a consistent predictor of daily anxiety-related symptoms and emotional distress, diminished positive life appraisals and emotions, and meaning in life (e.g., Kashdan and Breen, 2007;Machell et al., 2015), to the point that it is regarded as a transdiagnostic process (Monestès et al., 2018). ...
... First, bearing in mind that valuing happiness may lead to the avoidance of unpleasant experiences, we expected a positive relation between valuing happiness and psychological inflexibility components. As well, based on previous studies that have linked psychological inflexibility to more emotional distress and less positive life appraisals (e.g., Kashdan and Breen, 2007;Machell et al., 2015), we expected a negative relation between psychological inflexibility components and wellbeing. Consequently, we tested the mediation role of psychological inflexibility components in the negative relation between valuing happiness and psychological wellbeing. ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous evidence has shown that excessive valuing happiness may relate to lower psychological wellbeing across cultures. Considering the lack of data with Spanish population, we examined the relation between tightly holding happiness emotion goals and subjective wellbeing in a sample of Spanish women, and explored the mediation role exerted by psychological inflexibility components (namely, cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance) in the relation between valuing happiness and subjective wellbeing. A female adult sample (n = 168) filled out measures of excessive valuing happiness, psychological inflexibility, positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction. Valuing happiness only showed positive total effects on negative affect and strong direct effects on both cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance. Analyses revealed the mediating roles exerted by psychological inflexibility components, with experiential avoidance leading to lower pleasure; and cognitive fusion leading to greater displeasure and lower life satisfaction. Psychological inflexibility components explained between 40 and 80% of the total effect of valuing happiness on our outcome variables. Our findings highlight the need for further research on the benefits of hedonic vs. values-based approaches to happiness.
... High EA individuals may engage in behaviors such as binge eating (Lillis et al., 2011), smoking (Farris et al., 2015, or consuming alcohol (Gámez et al., 2011;Hayes et al., 1996Hayes et al., , 2004 with the purpose of escaping from such unpleasant experiences. Machell et al. (2015) argued that EA has a survival function by decreasing distress and leading to shortterm relief by shifting the focus away from the unpleasantness. Ironically, avoiding aversive internal experiences might enhance their frequency (Blackledge & Hayes, 2001;Wenzlaff & Wegner, 2000, p. 67), negatively reinforcing later instances of EA (Hayes et al., 1996), and reinforcing the incidence of subsequent CF (Berghoff et al., 2018). ...
... Moreover, excessive reliance on EA may have dysfunctional outcomes since the effort and time devoted to preventing unwanted experiences, and negative affect may lead to significant decreases in the intensity of daily positive affect (Machell et al., 2015). Furthermore, avoiding situations that evoke unpleasant thoughts and feelings limits the chances of ameliorating problematic attributes by interaction with actual adverse experiences (e.g., via exposure or habituation; Craske et al., 2014). ...
Article
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The study of Time has a long history, dating back to the earliest days of psychological science in the late 1800s. However, the conceptualization of time perspective has led to a better understanding of individuals' healthy and pathological attitudes toward time dimensions. Similarly, articulated psychological inflexibility components (i.e., Experiential Avoidance (EA) and Cognitive Fusion (CF)) have been found to have solid links with psychopathology, specifically psychological distress. The purpose of this study was to examine the serial mediating functions of EA and CF in the association between Deviation from Balanced Time Perspective (DBTP) and Depression and Anxiety symptoms. Also, a reversed model of serial mediation was tested. A total of 203 participants (155 female) aged between 17–73 (M = 28.45, SD = 11.43) completed measures of time perspective, CF, EA, anxiety, and depression. CF and EA functioned as mediators between DBTP and depression/anxiety in the first mediation model. However, in the reversed model, only the mediation effect for depression was observed. These results emphasize the need for tailoring treatments to the requirements of patients struggling with anxiety and depression symptoms, who may be more susceptible to imbalanced time perspectives and time-entrapped cognitive processes.
... The unique aspects of aversive reactivity we examined were non-acceptance of emotions (associated with the Understanding Emotions module), mindfulness (Mindful Emotion Awareness Module), cognitive flexibility (Cognitive Flexibility Module), behavioral avoidance (Countering Emotional Behaviors module) and anxiety sensitivity (Confronting Physical Sensations module). Previous research suggests that each UP module is associated with improvements in its associated aspect of aversive reactivity and that these aspects are associated with positive functioning (Ford, Lam, John, & Mauss, 2018;Gallagher et al., 2013;Machell, Goodman, & Kashdan, 2015). We aimed to clarify the associations between changes in the various facets of aversive reactivity and improvements in quality of life. ...
... Cross-sectionally, experiential avoidance has been related to lower quality of life among people with panic symptoms (Kirk et al., 2019). In a daily diary study, greater levels of experiential avoidance predicted lower positive affect, event enjoyment, and meaning in life (Machell et al., 2015). Finally, positive beliefs about emotions have been shown to be predictive of higher life satisfaction (King & dela Rosa, 2019). ...
Article
Emotional disorders are thought to be maintained by the transaction between frequent experiences of strong, negative emotions (i.e., neuroticism) and aversive reactions to those emotions. The Unified Protocol (UP) is an efficacious treatment for transdiagnostic emotional disorders designed to target specific forms of aversive reactivity to negative emotions. In addition to symptom change, the UP has also been shown to lead to increases in quality of life. However, it remains unclear which specific mechanisms targeted in the UP are related to improvements in quality of life. We explored the relations between changes in five aspects of aversive reactivity included in the UP (i.e., non-acceptance of emotions, [lack of] mindfulness, cognitive rigidity, behavioral avoidance, and anxiety sensitivity) and overall quality of life during treatment. Person-specific regression slopes revealed that improvements in emotional non-acceptance, behavioral avoidance, and mindfulness were each significantly associated with increases in quality of life over the six sessions of treatment. Although in the expected direction, improvements in anxiety sensitivity and cognitive flexibility were not significantly associated with increases in quality of life. These findings generally suggest a model of equifinality in which improvements in most aspects of aversive reactivity are similarly related to changes in quality of life. Clinical trials registration number NCT04584879.
... These results also support findings from previous studies in which experiential avoidance is a maladaptive emotion regulation TA B L E 2 Multiple linear regression coefficients between depression and satisfaction and the other variables strategy related to less well-being (Machell et al., 2015). These researchers found that individuals who were more inclined to act as avoiders were less likely to experience well-being. ...
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Aims and objectives: This paper aims to examine the satisfaction and depressed mood experienced by nursing home workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated variables. Specifically, to analyse the factors that may contribute to nursing home workers developing adaptive behaviours that promote satisfaction or, on the contrary, show characteristics associated with a negative mood. Background: Nursing homes have faced unprecedented pressures to provide appropriately skills to meet the demands of the coronavirus outbreak. Design: A cross-sectional survey design using the STROBE checklist. Methods: Professionals working in nursing homes (n = 165) completed an online survey measuring sociodemographic and professional characteristics, burnout, resilience, experiential avoidance, satisfaction with life and depression. Data were collected online from April to July 2021, the time in which Spain was experiencing its fifth wave of COVID-19. Two multiple linear regression models were performed to identify salient variables associated with depressive mood and satisfaction. Results: Resilience, personal accomplishment and satisfaction had a significant and negative relationship with depression and emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and experiential avoidance had a positive relationship with depression. However, emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and experiential avoidance had a negative and significant relationship with satisfaction and personal accomplishment, and resilience had a positive and significant relationship with satisfaction. In addition, it was found that accepting thoughts and emotions when they occur is beneficial for developing positive outcomes such as satisfaction. Conclusions: Experiential avoidance was an important predictor of the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic can have on nursing home workers. Relevance to clinical practice: Interventions focusing on resources that represent personal strengths, such as acceptance, resilience and personal accomplishment, should be developed. No patient or public contribution: The complex and unpredictable circumstances of COVID's strict confinement in the nursing home prohibited access to the centres for external personnel and family members. Contact with the professionals involved could not be made in person but exclusively through online systems. However, professionals related to the work environment have subsequently valued this research positively as it analyses 'How they felt during this complicated process'.
... Empirical avoidance is regarded as an individual's coping ability. Research has reported that the higher the empirical avoidance, the higher the negative emotion, the lower the positive emotion, the less fun linked with daily activities (exercise, diet and listening to music), and the less enjoyment connected with daily events and life significance (Machell et al., 2015). These studies suggest that empirical avoidance may be a personal influencing factor of male nurses' occupational well-being. ...
Article
Full-text available
Aims: This study explores the current occupational well-being status of male nurses in Chengdu, China, and identifies the concomitant protective and risk factors. Design: This study has a cross-sectional survey design. Methods: From 13 July to 21 July 2019, a cross-sectional survey involving 209 male nurses in 7 tertiary hospitals in Chengdu, China, was conducted using a general information questionnaire, the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II, the Professional Identity Scale and the Nurses' Occupational Well-being Scale. Results: The score of male nurses' occupational well-being was 78.7 ± 14.2. The higher the mindfulness and professional identity (p = .002, p < .001, respectively), the higher the occupational well-being of male nurses. The lower the experiential avoidance, the higher the occupational well-being (p = .001). The highest occupational well-being was found among male nurses who had less than 5-years' working experience. Conclusions: The results suggest that male nurses' occupational well-being was at a moderate level. Mindfulness and professional identity were the protective factors of male nurses' occupational well-being, and experiential avoidance was the risk factor. Nursing managers should ascertain male nurses' current occupational well-being and the influencing factors and formulate effective improvement strategies. Male nurse courses on enhancing mindfulness and professional identity and reducing experiential avoidance should be explored, with a focus on helping nurses improve their professional well-being and, in turn, prospectively reducing the turnover rate.
... As both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses have revealed, avoiding potentially disturbing inner experiences predicts increases in anxiety and depression and reductions in well-being (Machell et al., 2015;Moroz & Dunkley, 2019;. ...
Article
Objective: The mindfulness and self-compassion (MSC) protocol has shown efficacy in reducing mental illness symptoms and increasing well-being. However, little is known on how the positive outcomes are produced. This study explores how reductions in experiential avoidance following MSC training may explain changes in the participants' levels of anxiety, depression, and well-being. Methods: The 8-week protocol-based MSC training was delivered to 50 participants, and pre- to post- intervention changes in anxiety, depression, and well-being were measured. A series of mediation models were conducted, with changes in self-compassion as predictor, changes in experiential avoidance as mediator, and changes in mental health and well-being as outcome variables. Point estimates and bootstrap-corrected 95% confidence intervals were calculated to analyse indirect effects through experiential avoidance, by means of structural equation modeling (SEM). Results: Following MSC training, participants increased their levels of self-compassion, reduced experiential avoidance, and enhanced mental health (i.e., anxiety and depression symptoms) and well-being scores. Increases in self-compassion were associated with decreases in experiential avoidance, which in turn were connected with changes in anxiety, depression, and well-being from pre- to post-training. The indirect path through changes in experiential avoidance represented moderate to large proportions of the total effects of self-compassion change-scores on anxiety, depression, and well-being change-scores. Conclusions: Reducing experiential avoidance and increasing psychological flexibility may be a key effect of MSC training linked to improvements of the participants' mental health and well-being scores. Self-compassion practices could exert effects on anxiety, depression and well-being mainly through promoting reductions in experiential avoidance.
... Commensurate with its position as the treatment target of ACT, psychological flexibility is shown in observational studies to correlate with well-being and effective functioning across a number of contextsfrom living with a physical or mental health condition to performing effectively at work (Biron & van Veldhoven, 2012;Kashdan & Rottenberg, 2010;Machell, Goodman, & Kashdan, 2014). There has been no comprehensive study of the relationship between psychological flexibility and treatment adherence. ...
Article
Leader identity theory posits that, in addition to being positional, leadership is also a malleable state of mind. This means that even employees holding positions of authority within their organization may be nudged to identify more strongly with their leader role on some days versus others. The leadership literature, however, is silent about predictors that may prime leader identity day-to-day. We draw from leader identity theory and research on expressive writing to propose that leader identity can be activated daily via positive leader self-reflection (e.g., reflecting and writing about qualities that make one a good leader) in ways that are beneficial for the leader both at work and at home. We tested our theoretical expectations in two field experiments. In the first study, as expected, we find that leaders reported higher activated leader identity and more goal progress on intervention (vs. control) days. In turn, activated leader identity and goal progress enhanced leader well-being measured in the evening at home. Surprisingly, and contrary to expectations, the well-being enhancing effects of positive leader self-reflection were weaker for leaders who were higher (vs. lower) in identity fusion with their followers. In the second study, we demonstrate the malleable nature of leader identity by showing not only that positive leader self-reflection activates leader identity, but also that negative leader self-reflection diminishes its activation.
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Given that crucial psychological attributes of smartphone addiction have been studied in isolation from each other, we examined latent profiles of emotional distress (depression, stress, loneliness, and fear of missing out; i.e., FoMO); protective traits (self-control, mindfulness, grit); the behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and approach system (BAS; drive, reward responsiveness, and fun seeking) in relation to addictive smartphone use. We identified three distinctive profiles, using five fit statistics: AIC, BIC, adjusted BIC, an entropy, and LRT. The self-controlled, gritty, and mindful profile (22.7%) was characterized by heightened levels of self-control, grit, and mindfulness but lower levels of emotional distress, BIS, and BAS. The emotionally distressed profile (29.8%) was distinguished by elevated levels of depression, stress, loneliness, FoMO, and BIS, but relatively lower protective traits and BAS. Lastly, the approach sensitive profile (47.5%) corresponded to the normative group characterized by relatively higher BAS but mostly average levels of emotional distress and protective traits. When both global and pairwise comparisons between profiles were performed using Wald tests, we found that the self-controlled, gritty, and mindful profile was associated with significantly lower smartphone addiction tendencies than emotionally distressed or approach sensitive profiles, while the latter two did not differ from each other. These results still held when multiple covariates (age, sex, and income) were controlled for. Using a sophisticated person-centered approach, our findings underscore multidimensional psychological profiles that have different associations with smartphone addiction.
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Objectives: The current study aims to investigate the indirect associations between experiential avoidance (EA) and burnout, wellbeing, and productivity loss (PL) via the mediating role of positive and negative emotions among police officers. Methods: Data were collected on 187 officers (84% male) aged 21-64 years between 2019 and 2020. Participants completed online self-report measures. Results: EA was indirectly associated with burnout via positive and negative affect. EA was indirectly associated with wellbeing through positive affect, positive affect and burnout, and negative affect and burnout. Finally, EA was indirectly associated with PL via positive affect and burnout, and negative affect and burnout. Conclusion: Results provide support for the role of EA in officers' wellbeing and job performance via increasing negative affect and decreasing positive affect. This highlights the importance of interventions, such as acceptance and commitment therapy that target acceptance and psychological flexibility.
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Emotion regulation has been conceptualized as a process by which individuals modify their emotional experiences, expressions, and physiology and the situations eliciting such emotions in order to produce appropriate responses to the ever-changing demands posed by the environment. Thus, context plays a central role in emotion regulation. This is particularly relevant to the work on emotion regulation in psychopathology, because psychological disorders are characterized by rigid responses to the environment. However, this recognition of the importance of context has appeared primarily in the theoretical realm, with the empirical work lagging behind. In this review, the author proposes an approach to systematically evaluate the contextual factors shaping emotion regulation. Such an approach consists of specifying the components that characterize emotion regulation and then systematically evaluating deviations within each of these components and their underlying dimensions. Initial guidelines for how to combine such dimensions and components in order to capture substantial and meaningful contextual influences are presented. This approach is offered to inspire theoretical and empirical work that it is hoped will result in the development of a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the relationship between context and emotion regulation. © The Author(s) 2013.
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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 (AAO) were then examined in 8 additional samples. All totaled, over 2,400
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Despite the increased attention that researchers have paid to social anxiety disorder (SAD), compared with other anxiety and mood disorders, relatively little is known about the emotional and social factors that distinguish individuals who meet diagnostic criteria from those who do not. In this study, participants with and without a diagnosis of SAD (generalized subtype) described their daily face-to-face social interactions for 2 weeks using handheld computers. We hypothesized that, compared with healthy controls, individuals diagnosed with SAD would experience fewer positive emotions, rely more on experiential avoidance (of anxiety), and have greater self-control depletion (feeling mentally and physically exhausted after socializing), after accounting for social anxiety, negative emotions, and feelings of belonging during social interactions. We found that compared with healthy controls, individuals with SAD experienced weaker positive emotions and greater experiential avoidance, but there were no differences in self-control depletion between groups. Moreover, the differences we found could not be attributed to comorbid anxiety or depressive disorders. Our results suggest that negative emotions alone do not fully distinguish normal from pathological social anxiety, and that assessing social anxiety disorder should include impairments in positive emotional experiences and dysfunctional emotion regulation (in the form of experiential avoidance) in social situations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
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.
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This article appeared in a journal published by Elsevier. The attached copy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the authors institution and sharing with colleagues. Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third party websites are prohibited. In most cases authors are permitted to post their version of the article (e.g. in Word or Tex form) to their personal website or institutional repository. Authors requiring further information regarding Elsevier's archiving and manuscript policies are encouraged to visit: http://www.elsevier.com/authorsrights a b s t r a c t Prior research suggests that laughter is correlated with resilience and well-being. To date, there is little research on the subsequent social benefits following laughter with another person. We hypothesized that laughing with another person would be associated with greater social rewards in subsequent social interactions. Using a two-week daily diary study with 162 people (68% women), we collected data on 5510 face-to-face social interactions in everyday life. We found that laughing with another person during an interaction predicted greater intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment in the subsequent social interaction. There was no evidence for the reverse direction, as intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment failed to predict laughter in subsequent social interactions. As for specificity, laughter was associated with subsequent intimacy and positive emotions even after accounting for the variance attributable to enjoyment felt when socializing. As for robustness, laughter with another person had the same effect on subsequent interactions regardless of whether interacting with the same person or a new person. In summary, besides being immediately pleasurable, laughing with social interaction partners influences the likelihood of future social rewards. This study adds to theory and research suggesting that laughing is an important social bonding mechanism.
Book
An ACT Approach Chapter 1. What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kara Bunting, Michael Twohig, and Kelly G. Wilson Chapter 2. An ACT Primer: Core Therapy Processes, Intervention Strategies, and Therapist Competencies. Kirk D. Strosahl, Steven C. Hayes, Kelly G. Wilson and Elizabeth V. Gifford Chapter 3. ACT Case Formulation. Steven C. Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Jayson Luoma, Alethea A. Smith, and Kelly G. Wilson ACT with Behavior Problems Chapter 4. ACT with Affective Disorders. Robert D. Zettle Chapter 5. ACT with Anxiety Disorders. Susan M. Orsillo, Lizabeth Roemer, Jennifer Block-Lerner, Chad LeJeune, and James D. Herbert Chapter 6. ACT with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Alethea A. Smith and Victoria M. Follette Chapter 7. ACT for Substance Abuse and Dependence. Kelly G. Wilson and Michelle R. Byrd Chapter 8. ACT with the Seriously Mentally Ill. Patricia Bach Chapter 9. ACT with the Multi-Problem Patient. Kirk D. Strosahl ACT with Special Populations, Settings, and Methods Chapter 10. ACT with Children, Adolescents, and their Parents. Amy R. Murrell, Lisa W. Coyne, & Kelly G. Wilson Chapter 11. ACT for Stress. Frank Bond. Chapter 12. ACT in Medical Settings. Patricia Robinson, Jennifer Gregg, JoAnne Dahl, & Tobias Lundgren Chapter 13. ACT with Chronic Pain Patients. Patricia Robinson, Rikard K. Wicksell, Gunnar L. Olsson Chapter 14. ACT in Group Format. Robyn D. Walser and Jacqueline Pistorello
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Experiential avoidance (EA), the tendency to avoid internal, unwanted thoughts and feelings, is hypothesized to be a risk factor for social anxiety. Existing studies of experiential avoidance rely on trait measures with minimal contextual consideration. In two studies, we examined the association between experiential avoidance and anxiety within real-world social interactions. In the first study, we examined the effect of experiential avoidance on social anxiety in everyday life. For 2 weeks, 37 participants with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and 38 healthy controls provided reports of experiential avoidance and social anxiety symptoms during face-to-face social interactions. Results showed that momentary experiential avoidance was positively related to anxiety symptoms during social interactions and this effect was stronger among people with SAD. People low in EA showed greater sensitivity to the level of situational threat than high EA people. In the second study, we facilitated an initial encounter between strangers. Unlike Study 1, we experimentally created a social situation where there was either an opportunity for intimacy (self-disclosure conversation) or no such opportunity (small-talk conversation). Results showed that greater experiential avoidance during the self-disclosure conversation temporally preceded increases in social anxiety for the remainder of the interaction; no such effect was found in the small-talk conversation. Our findings provide insight into the association between experiential avoidance on social anxiety in laboratory and naturalistic settings, and demonstrate that the effect of EA depends upon level of social threat and opportunity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Prior research suggests that laughter is correlated with resilience and well-being. To date, there is little research on the subsequent social benefits following laughter with another person. We hypothesized that laughing with another person would be associated with greater social rewards in subsequent social interactions. Using a two-week daily diary study with 162 people (68% women), we collected data on 5510 face-to-face social interactions in everyday life. We found that laughing with another person during an interaction predicted greater intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment in the subsequent social interaction. There was no evidence for the reverse direction, as intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment failed to predict laughter in subsequent social interactions. As for specificity, laughter was associated with subsequent intimacy and positive emotions even after accounting for the variance attributable to enjoyment felt when socializing. As for robustness, laughter with another person had the same effect on subsequent interactions regardless of whether interacting with the same person or a new person. In summary, besides being immediately pleasurable, laughing with social interaction partners influences the likelihood of future social rewards. This study adds to theory and research suggesting that laughing is an important social bonding mechanism.
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Being preoccupied with the pursuit of money, wealth, and material possessions arguably fails as a strategy to increase pleasure and meaning in life. However, little is known about the mechanisms that explain the inverse relation between materialism and well-being. The current study tested the hypothesis that experiential avoidance mediates associations between materialistic values and diminished emotional well-being, meaning in life, self-determination, and gratitude. Results indicated that people with stronger materialistic values reported more negative emotions and less relatedness, autonomy, competence, gratitude, and meaning in life. As expected, experiential avoidance fully mediated associations between materialistic values and each dimension of well-being. Emotional disturbances such as social anxiety and depressive symptoms failed to account for these findings after accounting for shared variance with experiential avoidance. The results are discussed in the context of alternative, more fulfilling routes to well-being.
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The development and validation of the Social Phobia Scale (SPS) and the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) two companion measures for assessing social phobia fears is described. The SPS assesses fears of being scrutinised during routine activities (eating, drinking, writing, etc.), while the SIAS assesses fears of more general social interaction, the scales corresponding to the DSM-III-R descriptions of Social Phobia—Circumscribed and Generalised types, respectively. Both scales were shown to possess high levels of internal consistency and test–retest reliability. They discriminated between social phobia, agoraphobia and simple phobia samples, and between social phobia and normal samples. The scales correlated well with established measures of social anxiety, but were found to have low or non-significant (partial) correlations with established measures of depression, state and trait anxiety, locus of control, and social desirability. The scales were found to change with treatment and to remain stable in the face of no-treatment. It appears that these scales are valid, useful, and easily scored measures for clinical and research applications, and that they represent an improvement over existing measures of social phobia.