Date: 04 Sep 2010

The Roles of Cognitive Flexibility and Experiential Avoidance in Explaining Psychological Distress in Survivors of Interpersonal Victimization

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Abstract

The long-term negative psychological consequences associated with interpersonal victimization are significant; however a history of interpersonal victimization alone does not necessarily lead to greater long-term psychological distress. The current study examined the relationship between cognitive flexibility, experiential avoidance, and psychological distress among 92 women who reported a history of interpersonal victimization. The findings indicate that both cognitive flexibility and experiential avoidance are significantly related to posttraumatic stress symptomology and depression in this sample. Preliminary evidence is also presented suggesting experiential avoidance maybe a potential mediator between cognitive flexibility and psychological distress in this sample. The current findings suggest that treatments targeting greater emotional acceptance and mindfulness might be useful approaches in working with survivors of interpersonal victimization.

Portions of this data have been presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (Boston, MA 2003).