Psychological resilience and intolerance of uncertainty in coping with cystic fibrosis

J Cyst Fibros. 2016 Sep;15(5):689-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2015.11.011. Epub 2015 Dec 10.


Background: Anxiety and depression are lower than to be expected in a considerable portion of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This outcome might be a result of substantial resilience and/or tolerance of uncertainty in coping with adversity. Research into resilience in cystic fibrosis is in its infancy.

Methods: 57 adult CF patients participated in the study during their routine medical checkup. In addition to regular psychological assessment, the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) and the Resilience Scale (RS) were administered. The relative importance of IUS and RS in predicting quality of life in CF was explored. Bivariate correlations and predictive value of variables in multiple regressions on subscales of the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire-Revised (CFQ-R) were calculated.

Results: Remarkably, resilience (personal competence and acceptance) was clearly elevated, whereas intolerance of uncertainty was comparable to healthy reference groups. In multiple regressions, personal competence emerged as strongest resilience variable in the prediction of quality of life.

Conclusions: CF patients in our study seem to be particularly resilient rather than cognitively avoidant. At this stage of research, fostering personal competence in CF patients is most promising in improving quality of life.

Keywords: Cystic fibrosis; Intolerance of uncertainty; Psychological well-being; Quality of life; Resilience.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Austria
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards
  • Psychological Techniques
  • Quality of Life*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Uncertainty