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The Role of Experiential Avoidance in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and Somatization

Tull, Matthew T. MA*; Gratz, Kim L. PhD; Salters, Kristalyn MA*; Roemer, Lizabeth PhD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: November 2004 - Volume 192 - Issue 11 - p 754-761
doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000144694.30121.89
Original Articles
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This study examined the relationships between experiential avoidance in general (and thought suppression in particular), posttraumatic stress symptom severity, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and somatization among a sample of individuals exposed to multiple potentially traumatic events. Although experiential avoidance was not associated with severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms beyond their shared relationship with general psychiatric symptom severity, it was associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and somatization when controlling for posttraumatic stress symptom severity. Thought suppression, on the other hand, was associated with severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms when controlling for their shared relationship with general psychiatric symptom severity. No significant relationships were found between thought suppression and the presence of depression, anxiety, and somatization symptoms when controlling for posttraumatic stress symptom severity. Results suggest the importance of separately examining the influence of different forms of experiential avoidance on posttraumatic psychopathology.

*Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts; and †Center for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts.

Supported in part by National Institute of Mental Health grant MH-59044 to L. R.

Send reprint requests to Matthew T. Tull, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.