Heightened fear of uncertainty in anorexia and bulimia nervosa


  • Supported by K23 MH080135-01A2 from NIMH and by The Davis Foundation Award of the Klarman Family Foundation Grants Program in Eating Disorders (all GKWF).



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


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


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.


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. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)