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Do individual differences in intolerance of uncertainty affect health monitoring?

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Researchers have postulated that individual differences in intolerance of uncertainty (IU) may affect people's health behaviours. Study 1 (N = 147 university students) supports this proposition showing that higher IU is associated with higher monitoring (seeking threat-relevant information). Study 2 (N = 117 university students) experimentally manipulated IU to ensure that the association is not due to other related constructs such as anxiety or worry. Results show that inducing high IU led to increased monitoring as reflected by higher scores on an index of monitoring measures. Wanting information about the health threat in order to reduce their uncertainty was an independent predictor of monitoring and did not mediate the relationship between IU and monitoring. Findings suggest that high IU induces people to increase their monitoring; an adaptive strategy when the health threat can be reduced through this behaviour.
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Keywords: HPV; Intolerance of uncertainty; health threat; monitoring

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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