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Exploring the Relationship Between Experiential Avoidance, Alcohol Use Disorders, and Alcohol-Related Problems Among First-Year College Students
AuthorLevin, Michael E.
Hayes, Steven C.
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Objective: This study explored the relationship of experiential avoidance (eg, the tendency to avoid, suppress, or otherwise control internal experiences even when doing so causes behavioral harm) to alcohol use disorders and alcohol-related problems. Participants: Cross-sectional data were collected from 240 undergraduate college students in their first year in college between December 2009 and April 2010. Methods: Participants completed a diagnostic interview and online self-report survey. Results: Students with a history of alcohol abuse or dependence had significantly higher levels of experiential avoidance relative to students with no alcohol use disorder diagnosis. A hierarchical linear regression analysis found that experiential avoidance significantly predicted alcohol-related problems, even after controlling for gender and psychological distress. Furthermore, experiential avoidance mediated the relationship of psychological distress to alcohol-related problems. Conclusions: These findings suggest that experiential avoidance may play a role in problematic alcohol use among college students.