Advertisement

Familial Patterns of Intolerance of Uncertainty: Preliminary Evidence in Female University Students

  • Gioia BottesiEmail author
  • Ceren Gürdere
  • Silvia Cerea
  • Claudio Sica
  • Marta Ghisi
Article
  • 4 Downloads

Abstract

The overlap between parent and child psychological distress might be attributed to the intergenerational transmission of intolerance of uncertainty (IU). The current study explored the association between parental and child IU in female university students. Female undergraduates (N = 234) and their parents completed questionnaires assessing IU and psychological distress. First, we tested whether living status (on one’s own vs. with one or both parents) and IU predict psychological distress in undergraduates. Second, we performed between-group comparisons on IU and psychological distress measures. Third, we explored whether the path from parent to child IU is differentially mediated by child psychological distress depending on parental gender. Only IU predicted psychological distress of undergraduates. Daughters reported levels of IU and psychological distress comparable with mothers, but higher than fathers; mothers and fathers did not differ in IU, whereas the former were more psychologically distressed than the latter. Lastly, daughters’ psychological distress partially mediated the path from maternal to child IU, whereas it fully mediated the path from paternal to child IU. Current findings further support the association between IU and psychological distress during college age, and they tentatively suggest that differences in the intergenerational transmission of IU according to parental gender may occur.

Keywords

Intolerance of uncertainty Cognitive vulnerability Psychological distress Female undergraduates Family study 

Notes

Funding Information

The present work was carried out within the scope of the research program Dipartimenti di Eccellenza (art.1, commi 314-337 legge 232/2016), which was supported by a grant from MIUR to the Department of General Psychology, University of Padova.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The research was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and it was approved by the Ethics Committee of Psychological Sciences of University of Padova.

References

  1. Ahern, N. R., & Norris, A. E. (2011). Examining factors that increase and decrease stress in adolescent community college students. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 26, 530–540.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2010.07.011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Albert, U., Barcaccia, B., Aguglia, A., Barbaro, F., De Cori, D., Brunatto, C., Bogetto, F., & Maina, G. (2015). Obsessive beliefs in first-degree relatives of probands with obsessive–compulsive disorder: is the cognitive vulnerability in relatives specific to OCD? Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 141–146.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Gibb, B. E., Crossfield, G. A., Pieracci, A. M., Spasojevic, J., & Steinberg, J. A. (2004). Developmental antecedents of cognitive vulnerability to depression: review of findings from the cognitive vulnerability to depression project. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quartlerly, 18, 115–133.  https://doi.org/10.1891/088983904780906948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anton, W. D., & Reed, J. R. (1991). CAS: college adjustment scales: professional manual. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  5. Armstrong, K. A., & Khawaja, N. G. (2002). Gender differences in anxiety: an investigation of the symptoms, cognitions, and sensitivity towards anxiety in a nonclinical population. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 30, 227–231.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352465802002114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bale, T. L., & Epperson, C. N. (2015). Sex differences and stress across the lifespan. Nature Neuroscience, 18, 1413–1420.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4112.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Blanco, C., Okuda, M., Wright, C., Hasin, D. S., Grant, B. F., Liu, S., & Olfson, M. (2008). Mental health of college students and their non–college-attending peers. Archives of General Psychiatry, 12, 1429–1437.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.65.12.1429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bottesi, G., Ghisi, M., Altoè, G., Conforti, E., Melli, G., & Sica, C. (2015a). The Italian version of the depression anxiety stress scales-21: factor structure and psychometric properties on community and clinical samples. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 60, 170–181.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2015.04.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bottesi, G., Ghisi, M., Novara, C., Bertocchi, J., Boido, M., De Dominicis, I., & Freeston, M. H. (2015b). Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS-27 e IUS-12): due studi preliminari. Psicoterapia Cognitiva e Comportamentale, 21, 345–365.Google Scholar
  10. Bottesi, G., Martignon, A., Cerea, S., & Ghisi, M. (2018a). Worry and associated cognitive features in Italian university students: does gender make a difference? Personality and Individual Differences, 126, 38–43.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.01.016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bottesi, G., Tesini, V., Cerea, S., & Ghisi, M. (2018b). Are difficulties in emotion regulation and intolerance of uncertainty related to negative affect in borderline personality disorder? Clinical Psychologist, 22, 137–147.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cp.12163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bottesi, G., Carraro, E., Martignon, A., Cerea, S., & Ghisi, M. (2019a). “I’m Uncertain: What Should I Do?”: an investigation of behavioral responses to everyday life uncertain situations. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 12, 55–72.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s41811-019-00040-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bottesi, G., Noventa, S., Freeston, M. H., & Ghisi, M. (2019b). Seeking certainty about intolerance of uncertainty: addressing old and new issues through the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale-Revised. PLoS ONE, 14(2), e0211929.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211929.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Boulter, C., Freeston, M. H., South, M., & Rodgers, J. (2014). Intolerance of uncertainty as a framework for understanding anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 1391–1402.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-2001-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Buhr, K., & Dugas, M. J. (2002). The intolerance of uncertainty scale: psychometric properties of the English version. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 931–945.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(01)00092-4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Carleton, R. N. (2016). Into the unknown: a review and synthesis of contemporary models involving uncertainty. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 39, 30–43.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.02.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Carleton, R. N., Norton, P. J., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2007). Fearing the unknown: a short version of the intolerance of uncertainty scale. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21, 105–117.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2006.03.014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cassano, M. C., & Zeman, J. L. (2010). Parental socialization of sadness regulation in middle childhood: the role of expectations and gender. Developmental Psychology, 46, 1214–1226.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019851.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Clinciu, A. I. (2013). Adaptation and stress for the first year university students. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 78, 718–722.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.04.382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  21. Donovan, C. L., Holmes, M. C., Farrell, L. J., & Hearn, C. S. (2017). Thinking about worry: investigation of the cognitive components of worry in children. Journal of Affective Disorders, 208, 230–237.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.09.061.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Dugas, M. J., Gagnon, F., Ladoceur, R., & Freeston, M. H. (1998). Generalized anxiety disorder: a preliminary test of a conceptual model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 215–226.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(97)00070-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Enochs, W. K., & Roland, C. B. (2006). Social adjustment to college freshmen: the importance of gender and living environment. College Student Journal, 40, 63–72.Google Scholar
  24. Esbjørn, B. H., Normann, N., Lønfeldt, N. N., Tolstrup, M., & Reinholdt-Dunne, M. L. (2016). Exploring the relationships between maternal and child metacognitions and child anxiety. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57, 201–206.  https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12286.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Fonagy, P., Gergely, G., Jurist, E. L., & Target, M. (2002). Affect regulation, mentalization, and the development of the self. New York: Other Press.Google Scholar
  26. Freeston, M. H., Rhéaume, J., Letarte, H., Dugas, M. J., & Ladouceur, R. (1994). Why do people worry? Personality and Individual Differences, 17, 791–802.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(94)90048-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hastings, P. D. (2018). The socialization of emotion by parents: following Saarni’s legacy. The European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15, 694–710.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2018.1482210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. New York: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  29. Helenius, D., Munk-Jørgensen, P., & Steinhausen, H. C. (2014). Family load estimates and risk factors of anxiety disorders in a nationwide three generation study. Psychiatry Research, 216, 351–356.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2014.02.026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Helgeland, M. I., & Torgersen, S. (2004). Developmental antecedents of borderline personality disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 45, 138–147.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2003.09.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Helsen, K., Van den Bussche, E., Vlaeyen, J., & Goubert, L. (2013). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Dutch intolerance of uncertainty scale: comparison of the full and short version. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 44, 21–29.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2012.07.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Hunt, M. D., & Eisenberg, D. (2010). Mental health problems and help-seeking behavior among college students. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 46, 3–10.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.08.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hurst, C. S., Baranik, L. E., & Daniel, F. (2012). College student stressors: Aa review of the qualitative research. Stress and Health, 29, 275–285.  https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2465.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Joyce, C., Honey, E., Leekam, S. R., Barrett, S. L., & Rodgers, J. (2017). Anxiety, intolerance of uncertainty and restricted and repetitive behaviour: insights directly from young people with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47, 3789–3802.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3027-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Kane, P., & Garber, J. (2004). The relations among depression in fathers, children’s psychopathology, and father–child conflict: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 24, 339–360.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2004.03.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Kendler, K. S., Ohlsson, H., Sundquist, K., & Sundquist, J. (2018). Sources of parent-offspring resemblance for major depression in a National Swedish extended adoption study. JAMA Psychiatry, 75, 194–200.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3828.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Kumaraswamy, N. (2013). Academic stress, anxiety and depression among college students- a brief review. International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities, 5, 135–143.Google Scholar
  38. Lawrence, P. J., Murayama, K., & Creswell, C. (2019). Systematic review and meta-analysis: anxiety and depressive disorders in offspring of parents with anxiety disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 58, 46–60.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2018.07.898.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Lovibond, P. F., & Lovibond, S. H. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney: Sydney Psychology Edition.Google Scholar
  40. Lupi, S., Bagordo, F., Stefanati, A., Grassi, T., Piccinni, L., Bergamini, M., & Donno, A. D. (2015). Assessment of lifestyle and eating habits among undergraduate students in northern Italy. Annali dell Istituto Superiore di Sanita, 51, 154–161.  https://doi.org/10.4415/ANN-15-02-14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Mackenzie, S., Wiegel, J. R., Mundt, M., Brown, D., Saewyc, E., Heiligenstein, E., Harahan, B., & Fleming, M. (2011). Depression and suicide ideation among students accessing campus healthcare. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81, 101–107.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.2010.01077.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. McEvoy, P. M., & Erceg-Hurn, D. E. (2016). The search for universal transdiagnostic and trans-therapy change processes: evidence for intolerance of uncertainty. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 41, 96–107.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.02.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. McLean, C. P., & Anderson, E. R. (2011). Brave men and timid women? A review of the gender differences in fear and anxiety. Clinical Psychology Review, 6, 496–505.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.05.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McLeod, B. D., Wood, J. J., & Weisz, J. R. (2007). Examining the association between parenting and childhood anxiety: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 155–172.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2006.09.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Möller, E. L., Nikolić, M., Majdandžić, M., & Bögels, S. M. (2016). Associations between maternal and paternal parenting behaviors, anxiety and its precursors in early childhood: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 45, 17–33.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2016.03.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Ollendick, T. H., & Grills, A. E. (2016). Perceived control, family environment, and the etiology of child anxiety—revisited. Behavior Therapy, 47, 633–642.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2016.01.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Patock-Peckham, J. A., Cheong, J., Balhorn, M. E., & Nagoshi, C. T. (2001). A social learning perspective: a model of parenting styles, self-regulation, perceived drinking control, and alcohol use and problems. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 25, 1284–1292.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2001.tb02349.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Rector, N. A., Cassin, S. E., Richter, M. A., & Burroughs, E. (2009). Obsessive beliefs in first-degree relatives of patients with OCD: a test of the cognitive vulnerability model. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 145–149.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.06.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Ruspini, E. (2009). Italian forms of masculinity between familism and social change. Culture, Society & Masculinities, 1, 121–136.  https://doi.org/10.3149/csm.0102.121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Salk, R. H., Hyde, J. S., & Abramson, L. Y. (2017). Gender differences in depression in representative national samples: meta-analyses of diagnoses and symptoms. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 783.  https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000102.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  51. Sanchez, A. L., Kendall, P. C., & Comer, J. S. (2016). Evaluating the intergenerational link between maternal and child intolerance of uncertainty: a preliminary cross-sectional examination. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 40, 532–539.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-016-9757-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sankar, R., Robinson, L., Honey, E., & Freeston, M. H. (2017). ‘We know intolerance of uncertainty is a transdiagnostic factor but we don’t know what it looks like in everyday life’: a systematic review of intolerance of uncertainty behaviours. Clinical Psychology Forum, 296, 10–15.Google Scholar
  53. Shihata, S., McEvoy, P. M., Mullan, B. A., & Carleton, R. N. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty in emotional disorders: what uncertainties remain? Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 41, 115–124.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.05.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Sica, C., Caudek, C., Bottesi, G., De Fazio, E., Ghisi, M., Marchetti, I., & Orsucci, A. (2013). Fathers’ “Not Just Right Experiences” predict obsessive-compulsive symptoms in their sons: a family study on non-clinical Italian sample. Journal of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders, 2, 263–272.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocrd.2013.04.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stallman, H. M. (2010). Psychological distress in university students: a comparison with general population data. Australian Psychologist, 45, 249–257.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00050067.2010.482109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stettler, N., & Katz, L. F. (2014). Changes in parents’ meta-emotion philosophy from preschool to early adolescence. Parenting, 14, 162–174.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15295192.2014.945584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Suitor, J. J., Gilligan, M., Peng, S., Jung, J. H., & Pillemer, K. (2015). Role of perceived maternal favoritism and disfavoritism in adult children’s psychological well-being. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 72, 1054–1066.  https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbv089.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. Taylor, S., Afifi, T. O., Stein, M. B., Asmundson, G. J., & Jang, K. L. (2010). Etiology of obsessive beliefs: a behavioral-genetic analysis. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 24, 177–186.  https://doi.org/10.1891/0889-8391.24.3.177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. van der Pol, L. D., Groeneveld, M. G., van Berkel, S. R., Endendijk, J. J., Hallers-Haalboom, E. T., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & Mesman, J. (2015). Fathers’ and mothers’ emotion talk with their girls and boys from toddlerhood to preschool age. Emotion, 15, 854–864.  https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000085.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Walker, S., Birrell, J., Rogers, J., Leekam, S., & Freeston, M. H. (2010). Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale-Revised (unpublished document). Newcastle University.Google Scholar
  61. Wright, K. D., Lebell, M. A. A., & Carleton, R. N. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty, anxiety sensitivity, health anxiety, and anxiety disorder symptoms in youth. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 41, 35–42.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.04.011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Yook, K., Kim, K. H., Suh, S. Y., & Lee, K. S. (2010). Intolerance of uncertainty, worry, and rumination in major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24, 623–628.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.04.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Zlomke, K. R., & Young, J. N. (2009). A retrospective examination of the role of parental anxious rearing behaviors in contributing to intolerance of uncertainty. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 670–679.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-009-9269-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General PsychologyUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Health Sciences, Psychology SectionUniversity of FirenzeFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations