Reliability and Validity of a Brief Version of the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale in Outpatients with Psychosis

  • Keith Bredemeier
  • Kerry McCole
  • Lauren Luther
  • Aaron T. Beck
  • Paul M. GrantEmail author


Individual differences in intolerance of uncertainty are hypothesized to play a role in certain difficulties and distress in individuals with psychosis. However, the few studies that have directly explored this have yielded mixed results, which are difficult to interpret because measures of intolerance of uncertainty have not been formally validated for use with this population. To this end, the primary goal of the present study was to validate a brief (9-item) version of the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (Freeston et al. Personality and Individual Differences, 17, 791–802 1994) in an outpatient sample of 252 adults with psychosis. Results showed strong evidence for reliability (internal consistency and 6-month test-retest), as well as concurrent, predictive, and discriminant validity. Scores from the brief IUS were significantly correlated with emotional distress (e.g., anxiety, depression, hopelessness), quality of life, global functioning, and delusions, but not hallucinations. Further, these scores predicted changes in levels of general anxiety over time. Notably, intolerance of uncertainty was associated with symptoms/distress and functioning above and beyond pertinent cognitive variables (e.g., defeatist beliefs, asocial beliefs), suggesting this brief scale has incremental validity. Overall, results suggest it is a promising tool for future research on psychosis, and possibly clinical work with this population.


Intolerance of uncertainty Psychosis Schizophrenia Validation Self-report 



Preliminary results were presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 48th Annual Convention Philadelphia, PA. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the individuals who participated in this research project. We also thank Jason Cha, Ashley Chambers, Kara Devers, Sean Gallahger, Samantha Goodin, Gloria Huh, David Loeb, Michael Ovalle, Mary Tabit, Lucas Zullo, Marguerite Cruz, and Nina Bertolami for their assistance with this project.


This study was supported in part by a Distinguished Investigator Award (Dr. Beck) from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Fieldstone 1793 Foundation, and the Foundation for Cognitive Therapy.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

Keith Bredemeier, Kerry McCole, Lauren Luther, Aaron T. Beck, and Paul M. Grant declare that they have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Experiment Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Bredemeier
    • 1
  • Kerry McCole
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lauren Luther
    • 1
    • 3
  • Aaron T. Beck
    • 1
  • Paul M. Grant
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Yale New Haven Health Center for Outcomes Research and EvaluationNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyIndiana University-Purdue UniversityIndianapolisUSA

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