This study examined the application of experiential avoidance to understanding anger, a universal emotion that is not presently well-understood despite its pervasiveness in both clinical symptomatology and general experience. Theories including the anger avoidance model (Gardner & Moore, 2008) and the cognitive-neoassociationistic perspective (Berkowitz, 1983) proposed that anger is related to avoidant behaviors and lack of control. Experiential avoidance (EA), a concept introduced in Relational Frame Theory (Hayes, 2004b), describes the avoidance of unpleasant thoughts and negative emotional experiences. Historically, EA has primarily been used to examine anxiety, but may also present a valuable theoretical approach to other emotional experiences, including anger.
To clarify the link between experiential avoidance and anger, correlations between subjects' scores on subtypes of anger and levels of experiential avoidance were examined. A non-clinical sample of 215 graduate students completed the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2) and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II). Scores were analyzed for correlations between levels of experiential avoidance and types of anger experiences. Results suggest that experiential avoidance is related to higher levels of trait anger, increased inward expressions of anger, and decreased control over anger experiences. Implications for research, theory, and clinical approaches to anger and aggression are discussed.
|School:||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology|
|Department:||Clinical Psychology: Child and Adolescent Track|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Clinical psychology, Cognitive psychology|
|Keywords:||Acceptance and action questionnaire-ii, Acceptance and commitment therapy, Anger, Experiential avoidance, Relational frame theory, State-trait anger expression inventory-2|
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