The Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale for Children: A psychometric evaluation

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intolerance of uncertainty, child, anxiety, worry, anxiety disorders


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) has contributed to our understanding of excessive worry and adult anxiety disorders, but there is a paucity of research on IU in child samples. This gap is due to the absence of a psychometrically sound measure of IU in youth. The present study adapted parallel child- and parent-report forms of the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) and examined the internal consistency, convergent validity, and classification properties of these forms in youth aged 7–17 (M=11.6 years, SD=2.6). Participating youth (N=197; 100 girls, 97 boys) either met diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder (n=73) or were nonreferred community participants (n=124). The child-report form (i.e., IUS for Children, orIUSC), and to a lesser extent the parent-report form, demonstrated strong internal consistency and convergentvalidity, evidenced by significant associations with anxiety and worry (and reassurance-seeking in the case ofthe child-report form). Children diagnosed with anxiety disorders scored higher than nonreferred communityyouth on both forms. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis demonstrated acceptable overall utility in distinguishing the 2 groups of youth. Findings provide preliminary support for use of the IUSC for continuous measurement of children’s ability to tolerate uncertainty.

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