Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Tamara M. Loverich

Committee Member

Ellen I. Koch

Committee Member

Flora Hoodin


Experiential avoidance is receiving increasing conceptual and empirical review as an emotion regulation strategy and crucial factor in the development and maintenance of symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD; Kumpula, Orcutt, Bardeen, & Varkovitzky, 2011; Thompson & Waltz, 2010). It is also implicated in a variety of topographically dissimilar problem behaviors (Kingston, Clarke, & Remington, 2010; Mansell et al., 2009) and poor mental health outcomes. The transmission of effective emotion regulatory strategies (Duncombe et al., 2012) is increasingly important to understanding the development of these problems. Experiential avoidance may be a learned response style from one’s parent. This conceptual model was used to test the predictive power of parent experiential avoidance to young adult child experiential avoidance, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and excessive behaviors. Cross-sectional survey methodology was employed in a university setting, using a sample of parent and young adult child dyads. Significant discrepancies in the measurement of experiential avoidance were observed. Overall, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II was the strongest predictor of posttraumatic stress symptoms and excessive behaviors between and within dyads, above and beyond trauma itself. Parent experiential avoidance influenced young adult child experiential avoidance and parents appeared to engage in more harmful behaviors than their young adult children. Implications for understanding the influence of parent behaviors and experiential avoidance for young adults are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons