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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry


Elsevier B.V.

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Background and Objectives: Although experiential avoidance has been shown to predict a wide range of mental health problems, there has been minimal research to-date on the more immediate effects of engaging in experiential avoidance in the moment or the moderators that predict when it is more or less harmful.

Methods: An ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study was conducted with 70 undergraduate students who completed assessments three times a day, over seven days as well as a baseline assessment of global questionnaires.

Results: Both greater global experiential avoidance and momentary experiential avoidance independently predicted greater momentary negative affect, lower positive affect, and lower valued action. Global experiential avoidance was also a significant moderator of momentary experiential avoidance such that experiential avoidance in the moment was more strongly related to negative effects among those high in global experiential avoidance.

Limitations: Study limitations include a non-clinical student sample and use of unvalidated EMA items.

Conclusions: Overall, these results suggest engaging in experiential avoidance in the moment has more negative, immediate effects particularly among those who engage in global, inflexible patterns of experiential avoidance.