CBT for Treatment of Intolerance of Uncertainty

Intolerance of uncertainty usually involves negative emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions to uncertain situations, and it has often been associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Studies show that intolerance of uncertainty may be the common feature within these various anxiety disorders.

The current study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology aims to investigate the relationship between intolerance of uncertainty and emotional disorders such as GAD, OCD, panic disorder, and social phobia, and/or depressive disorders. Thirty-seven participants were randomly assigned to receive eighteen weeks of transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention (Unified Protocol for the Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders; UP) or were waitlisted for treatment.

Results indicated that intolerance of uncertainty was positively correlated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and that intolerance of uncertainty decreased during CBT treatment. Additionally, reduced post treatment intolerance of uncertainty was associated with reduced post treatment symptoms of depression and anxiety. These results suggest that transdiagnostic treatment to target intolerance of uncertainty can help improve treatment outcomes across emotional disorders.

Boswell, J. F., Thompson-Hollands, J., Farchione, T. J., & Barlow, D. H. (2013). Intolerance of uncertainty: a common factor in the treatment of emotional disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69, 6, 630-45.

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