The Effects of Mindfulness Versus Thought Suppression on Implicit and Explicit Measures of Experiential Avoidance

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APA Citation: 

Hooper, N., Villatte, M., Neofotistou, E., & McHugh, L. (2010). An Implicit versus an explicit measure of experimental avoidance. International Journal of Behavior Consultation and Therapy.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
experiential avoidance, IRAP, AAQ II

The current study aimed to provide an implicit measure of experiential avoidance (EA). Fifty undergraduate participants were exposed to an implicit (Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure: IRAP) and an explicit (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II: AAQ II) measure of EA. Subsequently participant’s response latencies on viewing a negatively affective IAP image were recorded. Participants were randomly assigned to either a thought suppression, or mindfulness group. The induction for both groups involved a 10 minute audio file that operationalized either suppression or mindfulness as a useful coping strategy for unwanted thoughts about the negatively affective IAP image. In the last stage of the experiment participants were re-exposed to both the AAQ II and the IRAP in order to determine whether the respective inductions had impacted on participant’s level of EA (either explicitly or implicitly). The results indicated that the mindfulness group experienced a reduction of EA from pre to postinduction in comparison to those in the thought suppression group on the implicit measure (IRAP) but not the explicit measure (AAQ II). Results are discussed in terms of the utility of an implicit measure of experiential avoidance.

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