Heightened fear of uncertainty in anorexia and bulimia nervosa

Int J Eat Disord. 2012 Mar;45(2):227-32. doi: 10.1002/eat.20929. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


Objective: To test whether intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is related to eating disorder (ED) pathology.

Method: Thirty individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), 19 with bulimia nervosa (BN), and 28 healthy control women (CW) completed the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS).

Results: AN and BN groups showed higher IU compared with CW. In AN and BN, Harm Avoidance and Depression scores were positively correlated with IU. In AN but not BN, IU was related positively to Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction.

Discussion: Elevated IU is associated with AN and BN. Anxious traits may be inherent in EDs and IU could be a developmental factor contributing to anxiety, mood, and ED behavior in AN and BN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Child
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uncertainty*