Full Program »
112. Tolerance of Ambiguity and Its Relationship to Psychopathology and Well-Being
Ambiguity tolerance (AT) has been defined as the ability to make complex and nuanced sense of one’s psychosocial world (as opposed to simple black and white interpretations) and is a concept that is well studied in personality research. However, AT can also be thought of as a psychological mechanism that facilitates well-being and buffers against psychopathology. Nonetheless, AT has been a mostly neglected area of psychopathology research. In two studies, we assessed the relationship of AT to psychopathology, negative affect, and well-being. In study one, we administered existing AT measures to a large MTurk sample along with measures of psychopathology, social functioning and well-being. In study two we randomly assigned participants to process a negative memory using either high AT, low AT or control instructions to assess the impact of AT on emotion and coping. Results from both studies indicate that low AT is a predictor of depression, anxiety and stress, and high AT is related to better well-being, social functioning, less negative affect, and better coping. The results of these studies indicate that AT may be an important mechanism to investigate in future research in order to understand key psychological mechanisms and processes in psychopathology.