Interrelating Behavioral Measures of Distress Tolerance with Self-Reported Experiential Avoidance

  • Heather M. Schloss
  • David A. F. HaagaEmail author
Original Article


Experiential avoidance and distress intolerance play a central role in novel behavior therapies, yet they appear to overlap considerably the REBT concept of low frustration tolerance. Using baseline data from 100 adult cigarette smokers enrolled in a clinical trial of smoking cessation therapies, the present study evaluated the convergent validity of common questionnaire measures of experiential avoidance (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire; AAQ; Hayes et al. 2004, and Avoidance and Inflexibility Scale: AIS; Gifford et al. 2004) and behavioral measures of distress tolerance (computerized Mirror Tracing Persistence Task: MTPT-C: Strong et al. 2003; computerized Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task; PASAT-C; Lejuez et al. 2003). The distress tolerance measures correlated significantly (r = .29) with one another. However, the questionnaire measures of experiential avoidance did not correlate with each other, nor with the behavioral measures. Further research is needed on the validity of measuring experiential avoidance by self-report and of the overlap versus distinctiveness of seemingly similar constructs such as experiential avoidance, distress tolerance, and frustration tolerance.


Experiential avoidance Acceptance Distress tolerance Assessment Cigarette smokers 



This study was funded by National Cancer Institute grant 2 R15 CA77732-02-A1. The results were presented at the 41st annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Philadelphia, PA, November, 2007. We are grateful to Carl Lejuez for consultation regarding the behavioral measures of distress tolerance and to Kimberly Bowen, James Douglass, Lisa Fucito, Ramaris German, Debbie Glasofer, Angela Gray, Ozge Gurel, Meaghan Leddy, Colleen Sevilla, Sarah Skopek, Melissa Tanner, and Sarah Weisberg for assistance with conducting this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAmerican UniversityWashingtonUSA

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