Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

William Fremouw.


This project examined whether experiential avoidance differentiated alcohol-dependent relapsers from non-relapsers. Eighty-five subjects receiving inpatient addiction treatment were assessed for degree of experiential avoidance (using a new measure called the AAQ, coping style, alcohol severity, anxiety, and depression. It was hypothesized that the AAQ, along with avoidant coping and negative life events, would differentiate those who subsequently relapsed with those who did not. Three months after discharge, subjects were contacted for follow-up to determine whether or not they had relapsed, and to what degree they had experienced negative and/or positive life events. A series of discriminant function analyses determined that the AAQ failed to differentiate the 33 subjects who relapsed from the 38 who did not. In addition, relapsers did not differ from non-relapsers in terms of coping style. However, negative life events significantly differentiated the two outcome groups, with relapsers experiencing significantly more negative life events than non-relapsers. In addition, experientially avoidant individuals who experienced negative life events were more likely to relapse than were less avoidant individuals who also experienced negative life events. Other significant predictor variables were subjects' age (with younger subjects more likely to relapse), and anxiety symptoms (relapsers were more anxious than non-relapsers). These findings are discussed and followed with suggestions for future endeavors in the area of experiential avoidance and alcohol dependence relapse.