The Role of Experiential Avoidance in the Relationship Between Emotional Pain and Yearning in Sudden and Unexpected Bereavement
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Individuals who have experienced a sudden or unexpected loss of a close family member or friend are at heightened risk for developing psychiatric morbidity, including prolonged grief disorder (PGD; i.e., pathological grief). Current models of grief and bereavement suggest grief experiences become pathological when individuals are unable to integrate their loss experiences into their post-loss life and continue to experience painful, persistent grief symptomology six to 12 months after the death. Emotional pain, experiential avoidance (EA), and yearning have been identified within grief and bereavement literature as three key features of grief that also prominently manifest in pathological forms of grief. Yearning has been conceptualized as an emotional state which leads to proximity seeking behaviors, and emotional pain has been conceptualized as an emotional state which leads to grief-related avoidance. However, a gap exists in the literature explaining how these variables may interact and perpetuate one another. The present study aims to reconceptualize the role of EA in the relationship between emotional pain and yearning and explore differences in relationship effects at various levels of PGD symptom severity in a sample of suddenly and unexpectedly bereaved young adults. Findings indicate emotional pain as a significant predictor of EA, b = 4.29, SE = .44, p < .01, and EA as a significant predictor of yearning, b = .01, SE = .00, p < .05. Approximately, 11% of the variance in yearning was accounted for by the predictors. Results indicate the indirect coefficient was significant, b = .05, SE = .02, 95% CI [.0095, .0942]. Results indicate that yearning associated with emotional pain may be partially explained by EA. These findings suggest further attention should be given to understanding additional mechanisms that may influence individuals’ engagement in yearning-related behaviors.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix
M.A. (Master of Arts)