Abramowitz, Lackey, Wheaton, 2009
Abramowitz, J. S., Lackey, G. R., & Wheaton, M. G. (2009). Obsessive–compulsive symptoms: The contribution of obsessional beliefs and experiential avoidance. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 160–166.
Experiential (emotional) avoidance (EA), a core concept in acceptance and commitment therapy, involves an unwillingness to endure upsetting emotions, thoughts, memories, and other private experiences; and is hypothesized to play a role in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). The present study examined how well EA, relative to traditional cognitive–behavioral theoretical constructs such as dysfunctional core beliefs about intrusive thoughts, predicts obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptoms. A sample of 353 nonclinical participants completed measures of EA, core ‘‘obsessive’’ beliefs, and OC symptoms. Individuals reporting greater levels of OC symptoms endorsed more obsessive beliefs and EA relative those with lower levels of OC symptoms, even when accounting for general levels of psychological distress. Among those with more OC symptoms, EA did not show relationships with obsessive beliefs. Moreover, EA did not add significantly to the prediction of OC symptom dimensions over and above the contribution of general distress and obsessive beliefs. Obsessive beliefs, meanwhile, contributed significantly to the prediction of OC checking and obsessing symptoms after accounting for EA. It appears the construct of EA is too general to explain OC symptoms over and above cognitive–behavioral constructs such as core obsessive beliefs, which are more specific.