Category: Adult Anxiety - Panic
Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) refers to tendency to react negatively to uncertain events or situations (Carleton et al., 2014). A recently proposed hierarchical model of distress tolerance (DT) suggests 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). IU has been shown to be an important predictor of a variety of anxiety-related outcomes, and demonstrates unique predictive ability for generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and other anxiety symptomology relative to other anxiety vulnerability factors. The purpose of the present study was to expand upon previous research by examining the predictive utility of IU relative to the four other proposed facets of DT. Participants consisted of 295 individuals recruited through Mturk to complete a battery of DT measures, including the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale, Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance scale, Distress Tolerance Scale, Discomfort Intolerance Scale, Frustration Distress Scale, and Panic Disorder Severity Scale. Bivariate correlations indicated that all of the predictors were significantly correlated with panic symptoms. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted by entering MSTAT, DTS, DIS, and FDS scores in step 1 and IUS scores in step 2. Results indicated that distress tolerance (DTS) and frustration tolerance (FDS) scores significantly predicted panic symptoms at Step 1. In the final model, IUS scores predicted significant incremental variance in PDSS scores (p < .01), and only IUS (p = .001) and DTS (p = .03) remained significant predictors of panic symptoms. These findings are consistent with recent research suggesting that IU and anxiety sensitivity serve as unique predictors of panic symptoms (Carleton et al., 2014) and provide additional support for the role of IU in panic symptoms independent of other facets of distress tolerance. The implications of these findings for modern CBT models of panic and directions for future research will be discussed.