The Relationship between Experimental Avoidance and Eating Disorders among Students of Ahvaz Jundishapour University of Medical Science, Ahvaz, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Psychology, Ahvaz Brach, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran.


Background and Objectives: Eating disorder is the third most common psychiatric disorder among young people. One of the factors that are involved in the development of eating disorders can be named as experimental avoidance. So this study was to investigate the relationship between experimental avoidance and eating disorders among students of Ahvaz Jundishapour University of Medical Science.
Subjects and Methods: In this descriptive-analytical study, 400 students were selected by using cluster random sampling during the academic year 2014-2015 of whom 272 were girls and 128 were boys. Eating disorders (EAT-26), acceptance and action(AAQ-II) questionnaires were completed by male and female students to investigate the relationship between experimental avoidance and eating disorders. Finally, data were analyzed using SPSS software.
Results: This study showed a positive significant relationship between experimental avoidance and eating disorders (P=0.0001, r=0.17). But, individually positive correlation between experimental avoidance and eating disorders was achieved in male and female students (P=0.044, r=0.18 and, P=0.0001, r=0.17 respectively).
Conclusion: The results of this study revealed that experimental avoidance of students increased in correlation with increase in eating disorder symptoms. This correlation is more clearly reflected among female students.


1-Currie A. Sport and eating disorders – understanding and managing the risks. Asian J Sports Med2010Jun; 1(2): 63-8.
2-Sharifi GR. The Relationship between Eating Disorders and ICAM-1, E-selection and Ghrelin Resting Level in Overweight People. Int J Pediatr 2014Nov; 2 (4-2): 95-100.
3-Gander M, Sevecke K, Buchheim A. Eating disorders in adolescence: attachment issues from a developmental perspective. Front Psychol 2015Aug; 6: 1136.
4-Wade TD, Keski-Rahkonen A, Hudson J. Epidemiology of eating disorders. In M. Tsuang and M. Tohen (editors.), Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology. 3rd ed. New York: Wiley; 2011. P. 343-60.
5-Sullivan PF. Mortality in anorexia nervosa. Am J Psychiatry1995; 152(7): 1073-4.
6-Carlat DJ, Camargo CA Jr. Review of Bulimia Nervosa in Males. Am J Psychiatry 1991Jul; 148(7), 831-43.
7-The National Institute of Mental Health: “Eating Disorders: Facts About Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions.” 2002. Avalable at: shtml . Accessed 2 Jan 2016.
8-Crow SJ, Peterson CB, Swanson SA, Raymond NC, Specker S, Eckert ED, "et al". Increased mortality in bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders. Am J Psychiatry 2009Dec; 166(12): 1342-6.
9-Tavolacci MP, Grigioni S, Richard L, Meyrignac G, Déchelotte P, Ladner J. Eating Disorders and Associated Health Risks Among University Students. J Nutr Educ Behav 2015Sep-Oct; 47(5): 412-20.
10-Golden NHKatzman DKKreipe REStevens SLSawyer SMRees J, "et al". Society For Adolescent Medicine. Eating disorders in adolescents: position paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. J Adolesc Health 2003Dec; 33(6): 496-503.
11-Fulton JJLavender JMTull MTKlein ASMuehlenkamp JJGratz KL. The relationship between anxiety sensitivity and disordered eating: the mediating role of experiential avoidance. Eat Behav 2012Apr; 13(2): 166-9.
12-Spinhoven P,  Drost Jde Rooij Mvan Hemert AMPenninx BW. A longitudinal study of experiential avoidance in emotional disorders. Behav Ther 2014Nov; 45(6): 840-50.
13-Rawal APark RJWilliams JM. Rumination, experiential avoidance, and dysfunctional thinking in eating disorders. Behav Res Ther 2010Sep; 48(9): 851-9.
14-Corstorphine E, Mountford V, Tomlinson S, Walker C, Meyer C. Distress tolerance in the eating disorders. Eat Behav 2007Jan; 8(1): 91-7.
15-Hayaki J. Negative reinforcement eating expectancies, emotion dysregulation, and symptoms of bulimia nervosa. Int J Eat Disord 2009Sep; 42(6): 552-6.
16-Espel HM, Goldstein SP, Manasse SM, Juarascio AS. Experiential acceptance, motivation for recovery, and treatment outcome in eating disorders. Eat Weight Disord 2015Oct; [Epub ahead of print]. DOI:10.1007/s40519-015-0235-7.
17-Ferreira C, Palmeira L, Trindade IA, Catarino F. When thought suppression backfires: its moderator effect on eating psychopathology. Eat Weight Disord 2015Sep; 20(3): 355-62.
19-Khodabakhsh MR, Kiani F. Body Image Disturbance and Perfectionism as Predictor’s Factors of Disordered Eating Behavior among Female Students. Int J Pediatr 2014Dec; 2(4-3): 399-406.
20-Bond FW, Hayes SC, Baer RA, Carpenter KM, Guenole N, Orcutt HK, "et al". Preliminarypsychometricpropertiesof theAcceptance and ActionQuestionnaire-II:a revised measure of psychological inflexibility and experiential avoidance. BehavTher2011Dec; 42(4): 676-88.
21-Izaadi A, Karimi J, Rahmani M. Psychometric Analysis of Persian Version of Body Image flexibility Questionnaire (BI-AAQ) among University students. Hayat 2014; 19 (3): 56-69. [In Persian]
22-Cowdrey FA, Park RJ. The role of experiential avoidance, rumination and mindfulness in eating disorders. Eat Behav 2012Apr; 13(2): 100-5.
23-Ostaszewski P, Malicki S, Dudek J. Transdiagnostic Models of Eating Disorders and Therapeutic Methods: the Example of Fairburn's Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment. Annals of Psychology 2014; 17(1): 25-39.
24-Lillis J, Hayes SC, Levin ME. Binge eating and weight control: the role of experiential avoidance. Behav Modif 2011May; 35(3): 252-64.
25-Pidgeon A, Grainger A. Mindfulness as a Factor in the Relationship between Insecure Attachment Style, Neurotic Personality and Disordered Eating Behavior. O J M P 2013; 2(4B): 25-33.
26-Mollazadeh Esfanjani R, Kafi S, Yegane T. Relationship between mental health and eating disorders in female students of Guilan University. J QUMS 2013; 16 (4): 54-60. [In Persian]