Intolerance of uncertainty and perceived threat

Keith Bredemeier, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined the relations between dimensions of intolerance of uncertainty (i.e., desire for predictability and uncertainty paralysis) and perceptions of threat (i.e., perceptions of the probabilities and costs of future undesirable outcomes) in a sample of 239 college students. Uncertainty paralysis was positively associated with both perceived probabilities and perceived costs for negative outcomes. Desire for predictability was positively associated with perceived costs for negative outcomes but was not associated with perceived probabilities for negative outcomes. When probability estimates for low base rate outcomes were examined separately, desire for predictability was negatively associated with perceived probabilities. Finally, perceived threat partially mediated the relations between dimensions of intolerance of uncertainty and worry. The results of the present study suggest mechanisms through which dimensions of intolerance of uncertainty might lead to excessive worry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Cost estimates
  • Intolerance of uncertainty
  • Perceived threat
  • Probability estimates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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