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Using a natural-language implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP) to examine verbal relations involved in psychological inflexibility in children (Pages 271-282)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 26, October 2022, Pages 271-282


Gloria Torres-Fernández, Miguel Rodríguez-Valverde, Mónica Hernández-López


The current study explored the feasibility and potential utility of a natural-language IRAP for examining psychological inflexibility in primary school children. 44 children (age range: 10–11 years old) underwent two different IRAP tasks. In the first one, participants responded to simple natural language statements relating joy and sadness with positive and negative evaluative terms (e.g., “Joy is good”, “Sadness is bad”). In the second, participants responded to more complex statements that framed the individual's experience of these emotions either as a condition that allows one to engage in valued actions (e.g., “I joyful wanna play”) or as a barrier for them (e.g., “I sad don't care about playing”). Participants also completed a standard psychometric measure of psychological inflexibility (the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth, AFQ-Y8) and visual analogue scale (VAS) ratings of the same statements used in both IRAP tasks. 82% of the participants completed both IRAP tasks maintaining accuracy and latency criteria, showing that a natural language IRAP is feasible with primary school children. IRAP results did not reveal substantial differences between responses to joy and sadness. IRAP scores and explicit rating scores were not correlated, and neither of them was correlated with AFQ-Y8 scores. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

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