Experiential avoidance as a common psychological process in European cultures

Jean-Louis Monestès, Maria Karekla, Nele Jacobs, Michalis Michaelides, Nic Hooper, Marco Kleen, Francisco Ruiz, Giovanni Miselli, Giovambattista Presti, Carmen Luciano, Matthieu Villatte, Frank Bond, Naoko Kishita, Steven Hayes

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Abstract. Experiential avoidance, the tendency to rigidly escape or avoid private psychological experiences, represents one of the most prominent transdiagnostic psychological processes with a known role in a wide variety of psychological disorders and practical contexts. Experiential avoidance is argued to be based on a fundamental verbal/cognitive process: an overextension of verbal problem solving into the world within. Although cultures apparently differ in their patterns of emotional expression, to the extent that experiential avoidance is based on a fundamental verbal/cognitive process, measures of this process should be comparable across countries, with similar relationships to health outcomes regardless of the language community. This research tests this view in European countries. The psychometric properties of the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II, a measure of experiential avoidance, are compared across six languages and seven European countries, for a total of 2,170 nonclinical participants. Multiple group analysis showed that the instrument can be considered invariant across the language samples. The questionnaire constitutes a unidimensional instrument with similar relationships to psychopathology, and has good and very similar psychometric properties in each assessed country. Experiential avoidance reveals not just as transdiagnostic, but also as a transcultural process independent of a specific language community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychological Assessment
Issue number4
Early online date29 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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