Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Date of Defense

7-29-2016

Graduate Advisor

Brian Vandenberg, PhD

Committee

James K. Bashkin

Zoe Peterson

Susan Kashubeck-West

Abstract

The psychological flexibility model offers a lens through which to view the development and maintenance of PTSD symptoms. The model consists of six behavioral processes, including cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, and lack of contact with the present moment, which are said to interact with each other to either resolve or maintain symptoms of PTSD. The mediation models proposed within the psychological flexibility model have yet to be examined within any sample. This study examined the relationships between cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, lack of contact with the present moment, and PTSD intrusion symptoms within a sample of trauma-exposed adults experiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress (N = 308). Results indicated that all three of the behavioral processes predicted PTSD intrusion symptoms, as hypothesized within the model. Also as hypothesized, cognitive fusion predicted both experiential avoidance and lack of contact with the present moment. Experiential avoidance mediated the relationship between cognitive fusion and PTSD intrusion symptoms, but lack of contact with the present moment did not. Contrary to expectations, experiential avoidance and lack of contact with the present moment did not both significantly and uniquely contribute to PTSD intrusion symptom severity. Experiential avoidance had a significant and unique impact in the model, but lack of contact with the present moment did not. These results provide support for many of the proposed relationships within the psychological flexibility model and also highlight the possibility that experiential avoidance may play a larger role in the development and maintenance of PTSD intrusion symptom severity than that of lack of contact with the present moment.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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