Flexibly and/or inflexibly embracing life: Identifying fundamental approaches to life with latent profile analyses on the dimensions of the Hexaflex model (Pages 106-118)

Volume 12, April 2019, Pages 106-118

Oliver K. Stabbe, Jaci L. Rolffs, Ronald D. Rogge

Dimensions of psychological flexibility (PF) have been linked to healthy functioning suggesting that the various dimensions within the Hexaflex model represent critical factors that shape the course of individuals’ lives. The current study built on this work by introducing a person-centered approach that identified fundamental types of individuals across the dimensions of PF and psychological inflexibility (PI) within the Hexaflex framework. A sample of 2668 online respondents completed the Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory (MPFI) with a subset of 970 completing a 4-month follow-up. Latent profile analyses on the 12 dimensions of flexibility and inflexibility assessed by the MPFI uncovered a set of 6 fundamental classes of PF. Four of the classes represented gradations of high to low PF with inverse levels of PI. A fifth group had fairly high levels of both PF and PI, and a sixth group had a more complex pattern of engaging in various forms of PF and PI. The six flexibility groups demonstrated differences in background traits and indices of current individual functioning and even demonstrated distinct shifts in individual functioning across time. Although groups with higher flexibility demonstrated clear links to general well-being (e.g., greater vitality, autonomy, competency, & relatedness), the presence of inflexibility within groups was strongly linked to lower individual functioning (e.g., greater psychological distress, rumination, impulse control difficulties, & physical health problems), even in groups that also contained higher levels of flexibility. A majority of respondents (53%) struggled with inflexibility and its negative consequences, and three fundamental classes of therapy clients emerged. Implications are discussed.

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