Category: Adult Anxiety
Indecisiveness has been defined as a dispositional trait affecting decision making across time and situations through modification of choice-related cognitions and behaviors (Germeijs & de Boeck, 2002; Rassin, 2007). Although indecisiveness is frequently associated with OCD (Frost & Shows, 1993) and hoarding (Saxena et al., 2015), investigations indicate links with trait anxiety, worry (Rassin et al., 2007), and Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU; Rassin & Muris, 2005).
The most widely used measure of indecisiveness is Frost & Shows’ (1993) Indecisiveness Scale (IS). Spunt et al. (2009) found the IS was represented by two related factors, labeled aversive indecisiveness and avoidance indecisiveness. Our research (Lauderdale, in review) demonstrated that Aversive Indecisive was more strongly predictive of anxiety, IU, worry, and multiple forms of avoidance than Avoidant Indecisiveness. These findings indicate that Aversive Indecisiveness is a cognitively-based anxiety process.
We expanded on our previous work by assessing the relationship between Aversive Indecisiveness, Avoidant Indecisiveness, and various anxiety processes. Using Carleton et al.’s (2007) 12-item IU scale, we expected to find that Aversive Indecisiveness was more strongly correlated with both dimensions of IU than Avoidant Indecisiveness. We also believe that Aversive Indecisiveness has an inhibiting effect on behavior and would be more strongly correlated with Inhibitory Anxiety than Prospective Anxiety. Additionally, with IU demonstrated to be latent dimensional trait (Carleton et al., 2012) that represents vulnerability for anxiety (and other emotional dysregulation), we assessed if Aversive Indecisiveness mediated the relationship between Inhibitory Anxiety and anxiety and worry. One hundred and eighty-five (men, n = 113) undergraduate students participated. Participants completed measures of IU (Buhr & Dugas, 2002), indecisiveness (Frost & Shows, 1993; Rassin et al., 2007), anxiety (Goldberg et al., 2006), and worry (PSWQ; Meyer et al., 1990). The correlations between Aversive Indecisiveness and Prospective (r(184)=.51, p < .01) and Inhibitory Anxiety (r(184)=.65, p < .01) were much stronger than the correlations between Avoidant Indecisiveness and the uncertainty dimensions (r(184) = .25 and .40, p < .01; Zs(184) = 4.77 and 5.13, ps < .01). The correlation between Aversive Indecisiveness and Inhibitory Anxiety was much strong than the correlation between Aversive Indecisiveness and Prospective Anxiety (Z(184) = 2.98, p < .01). Using separate hierarchical regression models in which anxiety and worry were regressed on Inhibitory Anxiety and Aversive Indecisiveness to test mediation (all prerequisite relationships were statistically significant), Aversive Indecisiveness partially mediated the relationship between Inhibitory Anxiety and anxiety (change in β = .53 to .22; change in R2adj = .27 to .40, p < .01) as well as Inhibitory Anxiety and worry (change in β = .56 to .24; change in R2adj = .31 to .44, p < .01). Alternative models will be assessed and Sobel’s tests will be used to confirm these results. These results clearly suggest that Aversive Indecisiveness is an anxiety process.
Sean Lauderdale– Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas