Coping and experiential avoidance: unique or overlapping constructs?

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2011 Jun;42(2):163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Oct 27.


The present study examined associations between coping as measured by the Brief COPE and experiential avoidance as measured by the AAQ-II and the role of both constructs in predicting psychological distress and well-being. Specifically, associations between experiential avoidance and other types of coping were examined, and factor analysis addressed the question of whether experiential avoidance is part of coping or a related but independent construct. Results showed that experiential avoidance loads on the same factor as other emotion-focused and avoidant types of coping. The higher people are in experiential avoidance, the more they tend to utilize these types of coping strategies. Both experiential avoidance and coping predicted psychological distress and well-being, with most variance explained by coping but some additional variance explained by experiential avoidance. ANOVAS also showed gender differences in experiential avoidance and coping approaches. Results are discussed in light of previous relevant findings and future treatment relevant implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires