Category: Adult Anxiety
Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is the inability of an individual to endure the possibility of uncertain, unclear, or unknown situations of an emotional, cognitive, or behavioral nature (Buhr & Dugas, 2002). Recent research conducted with the suggested hierarchical model of distress tolerance (DT) indicates IU is one of five distinct lower-order factors under the higher-order factor of DT, along with intolerance of ambiguity, frustration, physical discomfort, and negative emotion (Bardeen, Fergus, & Orcutt, 2013; Zvolensky et al., 2010). The Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) and Intolerance of Uncertainty Index-A (IUI-A) are two commonly used measures of IU (Carleton, Norton, and Asmundson, 2007; Carleton, Gosselin, and Asmundson, 2010). Previous research has suggested that IU may have specific clinical utility in relation to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but IU has not been examined in-depth for predictive validity for other anxiety disorders including social phobia (Buhr & Dugas, 2002). The current study sought to examine the incremental predictive validity of IU for GAD and social phobia above and beyond the other components of Zvolensky’s hierarchical model of DT as measured by both the IUS and the IUI-A. Participants in this study were approximately 300 individuals who were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. Each participant completed a series of questionnaires corresponding to the components of the hierarchical model of DT including the IUS, IUI-A, Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale (MSTAT), Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS), Discomfort Intolerance Scale (DIS), and the Frustration Discomfort Scale (FDS). The participants also completed commonly used measures of several anxiety disorder including the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to assess the predictive validity of the IUS by entering MSTAT, DTS, DIS, and FDS scores in step 1 and IUS scores in step 2 for each GAD and social phobia. The same analyses were conducted for the IUI-A by substituting the IUI-A for the IUS in step 2 for each GAD and social phobia. Results indicated that IU as measured by both the IUS and IUI-A did significant predictive validity above and beyond the other factors for social phobia (p < .001). The results of this research provide some evidence that IU may be clinically useful in relation to social phobia and GAD. Implications for future research will be discussed.