Experiential avoidance, acceptance, and depression in dementia family caregivers

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APA Citation: 

Spira, A. P., Beaudreau, S. A., Jimenez, D., Kierod, K., Cusing, M. M., Gray, H. L., & Gallagher-Thompson, D. (2007). Experiential avoidance, acceptance, and depression in dementia family caregivers. Clinical Gerontologist, 30(4), 55-64.

Publication Topic: 
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Avoidance, depression, dementia, caregivers, caregiving

Dementia caregivers commonly experience elevated levels of stress, and are at increased risk for psychological disorders. Recent research has implicated experiential avoidance and related processes in the development and maintenance of psychopathology, but no published studies have investigated the relation between experiential avoidance and caregiver depression. The present study examined this relationship in a sample of 28 female dementia family caregivers who completed a series of questionnaires, including measures of experiential avoidance and depression, as part of the pre-treatment protocol of a larger project. Results indicated a robust correlation between the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire and depression. Experiential avoidance was associated with depression even after accounting for caregivers’ negative affect and care recipients’ behavior problems. Implications of findings for the treatment of caregiver distress are discussed.

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