Intolerance to uncertainty, worry and attention

Lukic, Goran

Clinical psychology
June 2013

Thesis or dissertation

© 2013 Goran Lukic. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This portfolio Thesis consists of three parts: a Systematic Literature Review, an Empirical Research Report and Appendices.

Part One is a Systematic Literature Review, concerning the prediction of worry in adults. Though various definitions of worry implicate different psychological constructs, Intolerance to Uncertainty (IU) has been considered to have a unique relationship with worry. Hence, the review evaluated whether IU is a superior predictor of worry. Sixteen studies were identified by applying eligibility criteria in searches across two electronic databases. Methodological quality of studies was incorporated into the interpretation of findings. Generally, it was found that IU is indeed predictive of worry. However, IU did not always explain the highest proportion of worry, when compared with constructs tied to alternative theories of worry. Reasons for this are discussed, as well as clinical implications, future research directions and limitations of literature included and the review itself.

Part Two is an Empirical Research Report, exploring IU and attention. A clearer understanding of how IU influences cognitive processes can help to improve current treatments for Generalised Anxiety Disorder. The report extended a previous study by investigating whether IU biases attentional processes towards information considered as threatening in GAD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Fifty-seven participants completed questionnaires on Depression, Anxiety and IU. Participants also provided personal relevance ratings of words used in a computerised task, in which reaction times to Threat words were considered a measure of attentional bias. No significant relationships between levels of Depression, Anxiety, IU and attentional threat bias were found. Discussion of findings focuses on the experimental task’s sensitivity to detecting the hypothesised effects. Theoretical implications are tentatively drawn and recommendations for improving the future use of the experimental task are made.

Part Three contains Appendices to Parts One and Two and a Reflective Statement on the research process.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies, The University of Hull
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