Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Owen Richard Lightsey

Committee Member

Yonghong Jade Xu

Committee Member

Sara K Bridges

Committee Member

Douglas C. Strohmer


Experiential Avoidance (a process of not accepting internal experiences and rigidly attempting to alter the form, frequency, or intensity of these experiences) has been related to a variety of negative outcomes, including heightened depression and decreased satisfaction with life. Because of this, factors that may buffer or account for the relationship between experiential avoidance and these outcomes should be examined. Regulatory emotional self-efficacy may be one important factor that moderates the relationship between experiential avoidance and outcomes, yet no studies have examined this possibility. The purpose of this study was to examine whether regulatory emotional self-efficacy and experiential avoidance interacted to predict depression and life satisfaction. Specifically, we hypothesized that experiential avoidance and regulatory emotional self-efficacy each predict unique variance in depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. It was further hypothesized that persons with high levels of self-efficacy for managing negative emotions (SENeg) will demonstrate a weaker positive relationship between experiential avoidance and depressive symptoms, and a weaker inverse relationship btween experiential avoidance and life satisfaction, relative to persons with low or average levels of SENeg. One hundred fifty-three participants completed measures of depression, life-satisfaction, experiential avoidance, self-efficacy for managing negative emotions, self-efficacy for managing positive emotions (SEPos), and self-efficacy for managing anger (SEAng). Hierarchical multiple regression, simple slope tests, and graphs produced evidence that SENeg and SEAng did not predict variance in life satisfaction or depression beyond the variance accounted for by experiential avoidance. SEPos did not uniquely predict depression, but uniquely predicted approximately 4% of the variance in life satisfaction beyond the variance accounted for by experiential avoidance. Neither SENeg nor SEPos buffered the relationship between experiential avoidance and depression or life satisfaction. These results highlight the importance of directly lowering experiential avoidance in order to ameliorate depression and improve life-satisfaction.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.