Experiential avoidance as a mechanism of change across cognitive-behavioral therapy in a sample of participants with heterogeneous anxiety disorders
Eustis, Elizabeth H.
Rosellini, Anthony J.
Farchione, Todd J.
Barlow, David H.
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Citation (published version)Elizabeth H Eustis, Nicole Cardona, Maya Nauphal, Shannon Sauer-Zavala, Anthony J Rosellini, Todd J Farchione, David H Barlow. 2020. "Experiential Avoidance as a Mechanism of Change Across Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in a Sample of Participants with Heterogeneous Anxiety Disorders." Cognitive Therapy and Research, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp. 275 - 286. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-019-10063-6
Despite the substantial evidence that supports the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of anxiety and related disorders, our understanding of mechanisms of change throughout treatment remains limited. The goal of the current study was to examine changes in experiential avoidance across treatment in a sample of participants (N = 179) with heterogeneous anxiety disorders receiving various cognitive-behavioral therapy protocols. Univariate latent growth curve models were conducted to examine change in experiential avoidance across treatment, followed by parallel process latent growth curve models to examine the relationship between change in experiential avoidance and change in anxiety symptoms. Finally, bivariate latent difference score models were conducted to examine the temporal precedence of change in experiential avoidance and change in anxiety. Results indicated that there were significant reductions in experiential avoidance across cognitive-behavioral treatment, and that change in experiential avoidance was significantly associated with change in anxiety. Results from the latent difference score models indicated that change in experiential avoidance preceded and predicted subsequent changes in anxiety, whereas change in anxiety did not precede and predict subsequent changes in experiential avoidance. Taken together, these results provide additional support for reductions in experiential avoidance as a transdiagnostic mechanism in cognitive-behavioral therapy.