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19. Intolerance of Uncertainty in Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Intolerance of uncertainty (IU)—the inability to tolerate uncertain or negative events—is implicated in internalizing disorders. Research suggests that IU may be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition characterized by emotion dysregulation, high co-occurrence with internalizing disorders, and elevated suicide risk. Presently, no study has examined IU in adults with ADHD. To address this gap, the present study provides the first examination of IU among adults with ADHD, and its relation to comorbidity.
Participants were 743 adult outpatients having at least one anxiety-related disorder (351 females, 47%; Mage= 35.66, SDage= 13.56); with 215 having an ADHD comorbidity. Participants completed a diagnostic interview and a questionnaire assessing inhibitory IU (i.e., impaired functioning in response to uncertainty) and prospective IU (i.e., desire for predictability). Compared to patients with anxiety only, the ADHD and anxiety group had higher total, t(709)=2.90, p<.01, d=.23, inhibitory, t(741)=2.83, p<.01, d=.23, and prospective, t(739)=2.22, p=.03, d=.18, IU. These preliminary results suggest that IU may be a useful transdiagnostic construct for understanding the co-occurrence of ADHD and anxiety. Implications for outpatient assessment and practice will be discussed.