Objective: The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of experiential avoidance (EA) in relationship adjustment, psychological aggression, and physical aggression among military couples. Method: The sample was composed of 49 male soldiers who recently returned from deployment to Iraq and their female partners. As part of a larger study, participants completed self-report measures of emotional avoidance (EA; Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II), relationship adjustment (Dyadic Adjustment Scale), and conflict (Conflict Tactics Scale-2). Data from men and women were simultaneously modeled with the actor-partner interdependence model. Results: Men's EA was associated with decreases in relationship adjustment and increases in physical aggression perpetration and victimization. For women, relationship adjustment was not associated with EA, but greater EA among women was associated with decreased relationship adjustment for male partners. Associations among EA and psychological aggression were nonsignificant. Conclusions: These data provide evidence that EA may play a critical role in the relationships of couples following deployment and highlight the importance of targeting EA in couple therapy.
- actor-partner interdependence model
- couple therapy
- experiential avoidance
- physical aggression
- relationship adjustment