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27-06-2017 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2017

An Examination of the Indirect Effect of Intolerance of Uncertainty on Health Anxiety Through Anxiety Sensitivity Physical Concerns

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2017
Emily M. O’Bryan, Alison C. McLeish


Although research indicates that intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is associated with greater health anxiety, the mechanisms underlying this association have yet to be identified. One potential explanatory mechanism to examine in this regard may be the physical concerns domain of anxiety sensitivity (AS), which has well-documented associations with health anxiety. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine whether there was a specific indirect effect of IU on health anxiety through AS-Physical Concerns, relative to AS-Cognitive and AS-Social Concerns, in a sample of medically healthy undergraduate students (68% female, M age  = 19.16, SD = 1.84, Range = 18-38 years). Partially consistent with prediction, after accounting for the effects of gender and negative affect, significant indirect effects of IU on health anxiety through AS-Physical Concerns and AS-Cognitive Concerns were observed. These results suggest that AS is one mechanism through which IU impacts health anxiety, and it may be useful to employ interventions that target the physical and cognitive domains of AS in order to decrease health anxiety severity.

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