The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II) as a measure of experiential avoidance: Concerns over discriminant validity

Ian Tyndall, Daniel Waldeck, Luca Pancani, Robert Whelan, Bryan Roche, David Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Psychological inflexibility and experiential avoidance are key constructs in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) model of behavior change. Wolgast (2014) questioned the construct validity of the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II), the most used self-report instrument to assess the efficacy of ACT interventions. Wolgast suggested that the AAQ-II measured psychological distress rather than psychological inflexibility and experiential avoidance. The current study further examined the construct validity of the AAQ-II by conducting an online cross-sectional survey (n = 524), including separate measures of experiential avoidance and psychological distress. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that items from the AAQ-II correlated more highly with measures of depression, anxiety, and stress than the Brief Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire (BEAQ). Implications include that, as broad measures of experiential avoidance, the AAQ-II and BEAQ may not measure the same construct. In terms of psychological distress, the BEAQ has greater discriminant validity than the AAQ-II, and perhaps an alternative instrument of psychological inflexibility might be needed to assess core outcomes in ACT intervention research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science
Volume12
Early online date26 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other
quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science
[In-press], [ISS], (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jcbs.2018.09.005

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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Keywords

  • AAQ-II
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Psychological distress
  • Psychological flexibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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