Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is an inability to withstand uncomfortable reactions to “perceived absence of salient, key, or sufficient information” (Carleton, 2016, p. 31). IU is present in many psychiatric disorders (Mahoney & McEvoy, 2012). However, the prospective and inhibitory components of IU have differential correlations with symptoms (McEvoy & Mahoney, 2011). Prospective IU correlates more highly with worry and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and inhibitory IU with social anxiety, panic, posttraumatic stress, and depression (Shihata, et al., 2016). Most studies have examined associations between diagnoses and components of IU cross-sectionally. The aim of this study was to test for diagnostic differences in prospective and inhibitory IU at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and change in treatment. We hypothesized that across time points (pre-, post-, and change in treatment) generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and OCD would show greater prospective IU, and major depressive disorder (MDD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would show greater inhibitory IU. The sample included 272 (M = 35 years [SD = 13.5]; 48% male) diagnostically diverse patients from a partial hospital. Participants completed the Miniature International Neuropsychiatric Interview and the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale-12 at pre- and post-treatment. Standardized residual change scores were calculated to estimate change in treatment. Three MANOVAs were used to examine the main effect of diagnosis on IU at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and change in treatment. MDD, GAD, panic disorder, OCD, SAD, and PTSD diagnosis (present or absent) were included as independent variables, and prospective and inhibitory IU as dependent variables. At pre-treatment, the multivariate effect of SAD on IUS-12 subscale scores was significant, F(2, 135) = 6.86, p = .001. Between subject effects indicated a significant effect of SAD for inhibitory and prospective IU, F(1, 136) = 13.50, p < .001; F(1, 136) = 9.70, p = .002. There were no significant effects of MDD, GAD, panic disorder, OCD, or PTSD diagnosis on IU. The post-treatment MANOVA was not significant, p > .05. A third MANOVA showed no associations between diagnosis and change in IU throughout treatment, p > .05. Overall, SAD was associated with greater inhibitory and prospective IU compared to other diagnoses, but only at pre-treatment. This result was surprising but not unprecedented, as others have found greater total IU in SAD compared to controls or other diagnoses (e.g. Farmer, et al., 2014). However, this was the first known study to assess differences in IU components at pre-, post-, and change in treatment. Future directions and limitations will be discussed.
Eva K. Harris– Graduate Assistant, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Kimberly Stevens– Graduate Student, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Throstur Bjorgvinsson– Houston OCD Program
Sarah Kertz– Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois