Assessing psychological inflexibility in university students: Development and validation of the acceptance and action questionnaire for university students (AAQ-US) (Pages 199-206)

Volume 12, April 2019, Pages 199-206

Michael E. Levin, Jennifer Krafft, Jacqueline Pistorello, John R. Seeley

This study sought to develop and validate a domain-specific measure of psychological inflexibility for university students, the acceptance and action questionnaire for university students (AAQ-US). Generic versions of the AAQ tend to not be as sensitive to changes in campus-specific functioning —a key outcome of interest in this population. An online survey was conducted with 425 undergraduate students. Psychometric analyses led to the refinement of a 12-item, single factor scale with strong internal consistency. Evidence for convergent validity was found with moderate to large correlations between the AAQ-US and measures of academic outcomes, mental health, and psychological inflexibility. The AAQ-US was a stronger predictor of academic outcomes than the AAQ-II (a general measure of psychological inflexibility) whereas the AAQ-II was more strongly related to mental health outcomes than the AAQ-US. Incremental validity for the AAQ-US was found for predicting both academic and mental health outcomes while controlling for the AAQ-II, though effects were stronger for academic outcomes. Overall, results indicate that the AAQ-US is a reliable and valid measure of psychological inflexibility among university students and may be particularly relevant in the context of academic outcomes.

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