Article

To be sure, to be sure: intolerance of uncertainty mediates symptoms of various anxiety disorders and depression.

Centre for Clinical Interventions, University of Western Australia, 223 James Street, Northbridge, Perth, WA 6003, Australia.
Behavior therapy (Impact Factor: 2.85). 09/2012; 43(3):533-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2011.02.007
Source: PubMed

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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