Intolerance of uncertainty predicts analogue posttraumatic stress following adverse life events

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is evidence that intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is associated with elevated post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. There is a scarcity of research examining whether IU is prospectively related to PTS following exposure to negative life events. Using data from a Dutch student-sample, we examined the degree to which IU predicts post-traumatic stress symptoms associated with negative stressful life events (analogue posttraumatic stress (PTS)).


DESIGN: This was a prospective survey-study.


METHODS: A group of 193 undergraduate students completed self-report measures of Inhibitory IU, Prospective IU, and anxiety sensitivity (at Time 1, T1). One year later (at T2), participants rated adverse life-events experienced between T1 and T2, and completed a questionnaire tapping PTS associated with the most distressing event experienced in this time-frame. We hypothesized that pre-event Inhibitory IU and—to a lesser extent—Prospective IU would predict analogue PTS, after covarying for anxiety sensitivity.


RESULTS: As predicted, pre-event Inhibitory IU predicted post-event analogue PTS, even when controlling for anxiety sensitivity. With respect to distinct analogue PTS clusters, Inhibitory IU predicted PTS avoidance and PTS hyperarousal, but was unrelated to PTS reexperiencing.

Paul A. Boelen | 2019
In: Anxiety, Stress & Coping ; ISSN: 1477-2205 | 32 | 5 | juni | 498-504
Life Experiences, Netherlands, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (en), Research, Traumatic events
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