Publication Date

2015-06-12

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2017-06-11

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2015-04-24

First Committee Member

Jill Ehrenreich-May

Second Committee Member

Kiara Timpano

Third Committee Member

Rebecca Shearer

Fourth Committee Member

Neena Malik

Abstract

Avoidance, which may be either behavioral or emotional and is widely thought to be a maladaptive strategy for regulating emotions, is central to diagnostic conceptualizations of anxiety and depressive disorders. Both behavioral and emotional avoidance confer risk for and maintain symptoms of anxiety and depression, and change in avoidance is thought to be an important treatment mechanism. However, few existing measures of avoidance are appropriate for adolescents. The current study utilized exploratory factor analyses of two measures of avoidance in adolescents, employing an exploratory structural equation modeling framework: the Checklist of Avoidance Strategy Engagement for Adolescents (CEASE-A; Fairholme & Ehrenreich, 2008), a measure of behavioral avoidance, and the Emotional Avoidance Strategy Inventory for Adolescents (EASI-A; Fairholme & Ehrenreich, 2008), a measure of emotional avoidance. Participants were recruited from one middle and one high school in the Southeastern United States. Analyses yielded a five-factor structure for the CEASE-A and a three-factor structure for the EASI-A. Small correlations were observed between the CEASE-A and a measure of anxiety-related behavioral avoidance, and moderate correlations were observed between the EASI-A and a measure of thought suppression. Both measures were moderately to strongly predictive of anxiety and depression symptoms. The CEASE-A and EASI-A are two new, psychometrically sound measures of avoidance that will aid in the assessment of avoidance as a vulnerability factor for psychopathology and as an outcome and mechanism for treatments of emotional disorders in adolescents.

Keywords

Adolescent; Avoidance; Measurement; Anxiety; Depression

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