To be sure, to be sure: intolerance of uncertainty mediates symptoms of various anxiety disorders and depression.
ABSTRACT The Intolerance of Uncertainty Model was initially developed as an explanation for worry within the context of generalized anxiety disorder. However, recent research has identified intolerance of uncertainty (IU) as a possible transdiagnostic maintaining factor across the anxiety disorders and depression. The aim of this study was to determine whether IU mediated the relationship between neuroticism and symptoms related to various anxiety disorders and depression in a treatment-seeking sample (N=328). Consistent with previous research, IU was significantly associated with neuroticism as well as with symptoms of social phobia, panic disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. Moreover, IU explained unique variance in these symptom measures when controlling for neuroticism. Mediational analyses showed that IU was a significant partial mediator between neuroticism and all symptom measures, even when controlling for symptoms of other disorders. More specifically, anxiety in anticipation of future uncertainty (prospective anxiety) partially mediated the relationship between neuroticism and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (i.e. worry) and obsessive-compulsive disorder, whereas inaction in the face of uncertainty (inhibitory anxiety) partially mediated the relationship between neuroticism and symptoms of social anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia, and depression. Sobel's test demonstrated that all hypothesized meditational pathways were associated with significant indirect effects, although the mediation effect was stronger for worry than other symptoms. Potential implications of these findings for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: This study reviews research on the construct of intolerance of uncertainty (IU). A recent factor analysis (Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25, 2012, p. 533) has been used to extend the transdiagnostic model articulated by Mansell (2005, p. 141) to focus on the role of IU as a facet of the model that is important to address in treatment. Research suggests that individual differences in IU may compromise resilience and that individuals high in IU are susceptible to increased negative affect. The model extension provides a guide for the treatment of clients presenting with uncertainty in the context of either a single disorder or several comorbid disorders. By applying the extension, the clinician is assisted to explore two facets of IU, “Need for Predictability” and “Uncertainty Arousal.”Clinical Psychology Science and Practice 09/2014; 21(3). · 2.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: While avoidance behavior is often an adaptive strategy, exaggerated avoidance can be detrimental and result in the development of psychopathologies, such as anxiety disorders. A large animal literature shows that the acquisition and extinction of avoidance behavior in rodents depends on individual differences (e.g., sex, strain) and might be modulated by the presence of environmental cues. However, there is a dearth of such reports in human literature, mainly due to the lack of adequate experimental paradigms. In the current study, we employed a computer-based task, where participants control a spaceship and attempt to gain points by shooting an enemy spaceship that appears on the screen. Warning signals predict on-screen aversive events; the participants can learn a protective response to escape or avoid these events. This task has been recently used to reveal facilitated acquisition of avoidance behavior in individuals with anxiety vulnerability due to female sex or inhibited personality. Here, we extended the task to include an extinction phase, and tested the effect of signals that appeared during "safe" periods. Healthy young adults (n = 122) were randomly assigned to a testing condition with or without such signals. Results showed that the addition of safety signals during the acquisition phase impaired acquisition (in females) and facilitated extinction of the avoidance behavior. We also replicated our recent finding of an association between female sex and longer avoidance duration and further showed that females continued to demonstrate more avoidance behavior even on extinction trials when the aversive events no longer occurred. This study is the first to show sex differences on the acquisition and extinction of human avoidance behavior and to demonstrate the role of safety signals in such behavior, highlighting the potential relevance of safety signals for cognitive therapies that focus on extinction learning to treat anxiety symptoms.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:323. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Modern anxiety disorder models implicitly include intolerance of uncertainty (IU) as a critical component for the development and maintenance of these pervasive social and economic concerns. IU represents, at its core, fear of the unknown – a long-recognized, deep-seated fear identified in normative and pathological samples. Indeed, the intrinsic nature of IU can be argued as evolutionarily supported, a notion buttressed by initial biophysiological evidence from uncertainty-related research. Originally thought to be specific to generalized anxiety disorder, recent research has clearly demonstrated that IU is a broad transdiagnostic dispositional risk factor for the development and maintenance of clinically significant anxiety. The available evidence suggests that theorists, researchers and clinicians may benefit from explicitly incorporating IU into models, research designs, case conceptualizations and as a treatment target.Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 01/2014; 12(8). · 2.96 Impact Factor