Information Seeking in Individuals Intolerant of Uncertainty
thesisposted on 27.10.2017, 00:00 by Rachel Miriam Ranney
The intolerance of uncertainty model (IUM) of worry posits that individuals worry as a means to cope with the discomfort they feel when outcomes are uncertain, but there have been few experimental studies that investigate the causal relationships between intolerance of uncertainty, situational uncertainty, and worry. Furthermore, existing studies have failed to control for the likelihood of future negative events occurring, introducing an important rival hypothesis to explain past findings. In the present study, we aimed to examine how individuals with high and low trait intolerance of uncertainty differ in their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions to situational uncertainty about an upcoming negative event (watching emotionally upsetting film clips), holding constant the likelihood of that negative event taking place. We found that although individuals high in trait prospective anxiety (a type of intolerance of uncertainty) evidenced more information seeking behavior and reported a higher degree of belief that being provided with detailed information about the upcoming stressor would make them feel at ease, they did not experience a decrease in distress or worry upon being provided with more information, during anticipation of the film clips, or during the film clips themselves. Our results demonstrate that heightened distress regarding negative events may be more central than intolerance of uncertainty in the maintenance of worry.