The relationship between self-reported health and mental health problems: Experiential avoidance as a moderator
Andrew, D. H., & Dulin, P. L. (2007). The relationship between self-reported health and mental health problems among older adults in New Zealand: Experiential avoidance as a moderator. Aging and mental health, 11(5), 596-603.
This study sought to examine the influence of experiential avoidance (EA) as a moderating variable between reported physical health problems and anxiety and depression among older adults. Experiential avoidance has been found in previous studies to be strongly associated with a number of psychological disorders in younger adults but has received minimal attention in older populations. Two-hundred-and-eight individuals from New Zealand between the ages of 70 and 92 years old participated in this study. The Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire were used to measure anxiety, depression and EA, respectively. It was hypothesized that self-reported health (SRH) and EA would be associated with depression and anxiety at the zero order level. We also hypothesized that EA would be a unique predictor of depression and anxiety and would moderate the relationships between SRH and both depression and anxiety. Multiple regression analyses indicated that EA explained 8% of the unique variance in depression, 20% in anxiety and moderated the relationships between SRH and both depression and anxiety. This study also found that the relationships involving EA were more pronounced with anxiety as compared with depression in this elderly sample. The theoretical and practical applications of these findings are discussed.