Behaviour Change

Standard Papers

The Relationship Between Experiential Avoidance and Impulsiveness in a Nonclinical Sample

Christopher R. Berghoffa1 c1, Andrew M. Pomerantza1, Jonathan C. Pettibonea1, Daniel J. Segrista1 and David R. Bedwella1

a1 Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA


Experiential avoidance (EA) has been connected to various behavioural indicators of psychological distress, implicated in the etiology and maintenance of psychological disorders, and is the target of prevalent psychological treatments. However, the reasons that individuals engage in dysfunctional EA are little understood. One hypothesis focuses on the preference for small, immediate rewards above larger, delayed rewards — in other words, impulsiveness. We examined the relationship of impulsiveness, measured both by self-report and behaviourally, to EA, while statistically controlling for possible confounding variables (i.e., intellectual functioning, gender, ethnicity), in a sample of normal undergraduate participants. Regression analyses suggest a significant relationship exists between EA and self-reported (but not behaviourally measured) impulsiveness. Exploratory analyses indicate nonplanning-type impulsiveness might be the best predictor of EA. Possible confounding variables did not account for a significant amount of variance within either model examined. Thus, support is provided for a theoretically proposed relationship within the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy model of psychopathology between EA and impulsiveness.


  • experiential avoidance;
  • impulsiveness;
  • acceptance and commitment therapy


c1 Address for correspondence: Christopher Berghoff, University at Albany, SUNY, Social Sciences 399, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222, USA. E-mail: