Are we still uncertain about the latent structure of intolerance of uncertainty: Results from factor mixture modeling in a Serbian sample

J Affect Disord. 2021 Nov 1;294:505-512. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.07.081. Epub 2021 Jul 22.


Background: Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is a transdiagnostic risk factor for emotional disorders. Exploring the nature of IU might allow us to understand better a difference between pathological and normal worry processes. For that purpose, factor mixture modeling (FMM) can be used to test the latent structure of IU across a categorical-dimensional spectrum.

Method: In the current study, FMM was used to examine the structure of IU in a sample of 1440 (Mage = 19.71, SD = 1.14) university students in Serbia. A Serbian Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale-11 was used.

Results: Results suggest that IU has four latent classes, named as Low IU, Moderate-Low IU, Moderate-High IU and High IU. The Low IU and High IU classes significantly differed in levels of positive and negative affect (NA), symptoms of depression (D), anxiety (A), stress (A), depressive cognitive bias and anxiety sensitivity (AS). Moderate-Low IU and Moderate-High classes had higher symptoms than Low IU class, but lower than High IU class. The Moderate-Low IU and Moderate-High IU classes differed in symptoms of D, A, S, and in levels of AS and NA.

Limitations: This study was cross-sectional and included only non-clinical sample.

Conclusion: The latent structure of IU tested on a Serbian sample can be described in terms of hybrid latent structure The cut-off scores of ≤ 19 and ≥ 26 can be used to detect those who are non-vulnerable or at risk for IU-related psychopathology.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cut-off score; Factor mixture modeling; Intolerance of uncertainty; Latent structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Anxiety* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Psychopathology
  • Uncertainty
  • Young Adult