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A multicultural examination of experiential avoidance: AAQ – II measurement comparisons across Asian American, Black, Latinx, Middle Eastern, and White college students (Pages 1-8)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 16, April 2020, Pages 1-8


Nicholas C. Borgogna, Ryon C. McDermott, April Berry, Emma C. Lathan, Jose Gonzales


Experiential avoidance is a common psychological process, a core component of third-wave behavioral therapies, and a robust predictor of general psychopathology. The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ version II [AAQ – II]; Bond et al. 2011) is a popular and widely used measure of experiential avoidance. However, studies examining the measurement and function of the AAQ-II across cultures are largely relegated to translational investigations across different languages, thus providing little information about measurement equivalence among English speaking populations from different racial/ethnic backgrounds. The present study examined data from the 2016–2017 National Healthy Minds Study (HMS; N = 24,439) and tested the measurement invariance of the AAQ – II across White, Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Middle Eastern college students. We then examined how racial/ethnic group moderated experiential avoidance as a concurrent predictor of anxiety and depression. Multigroup structural equation modeling indicated support for configural but not metric measurement invariance across all groups. The effect size of the non-invariance was small in magnitude. The AAQ – II functioned as a strong positive correlate of anxiety and depression measures across racial/ethnic groups. Moderation analyses further indicated that the AAQ-II was a significantly stronger predictor of anxiety and depression for White participants (β′s = .717, .738 respectively) compared to Asian American participants (β′s = 0.671, 0.665 respectively) and was a significantly stronger predictor of anxiety for White participants compared to Latinx respondents (β = 0.662). Implications for research, theory, and clinical practice are discussed, with specific recommendations for culturally informed adaptations to the AAQ – II.

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