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Embracing complex models: Exploratory network analyses of psychological (In)Flexibility processes and unique associations with psychiatric symptomology and quality of life (Pages 64-74)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 23, January 2022, Pages 64-74


Lucas D. Baker, Christopher R. Berghoff


Psychological flexibility (PF) and inflexibility (PI), a unified behavioral process-oriented model of human functioning, appear associated with flourishing and suffering, respectively. Despite these well-established broad based associations, little research has identified process-level relations with outcomes of interest while also accounting for process interrelations. The present study aimed to identify structural relations of PF and PI processes and their unique associations with psychiatric symptomology and QOL using network analyses of cross-sectional data provided by undergraduate students (N = 137; Female = 73.72%, White = 90.6%). Results identified six PF and six PI processes that organized into theoretically consistent clusters. Moreover, most PF processes demonstrated unique inverse relations with corresponding PI processes (e.g., cognitive fusion ⟷ defusion). Results also suggested that processes quantitively aligned with the Open, Aware, and Active dyad organizational structure of PF/PI (e.g., Hayes et al., 2011), though substantial relations between dyads were observed. Process-specific associations with psychiatric symptomology and QOL exhibited high variability, and differential associations with outcomes at corresponding PF/PI processes emerged. Overall, results highlight the complexity of PF/PI associations and suggest a need to assess, and account for interrelations of, both PF and PI processes in future research.

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