Intolerance of Uncertainty in Relation to Motives for Alcohol Use

Research paper by Mary E. Oglesby, Brian J. Albanese, Jesus Chavarria, Norman B. Schmidt

Indexed on: 23 Dec '14Published on: 23 Dec '14Published in: Cognitive therapy and research


Various anxiety-related risk factors have been proposed to contribute to the development of drinking motives. However, little is known about how intolerance of uncertainty (IU), defined as a cognitive bias to interpret ambiguity in a negative fashion, relates to motives for alcohol use. IU, as measured by the IUS-12, is comprised of prospective IU (cognitive perceptions of future uncertainty as threatening) and inhibitory IU (apprehension due to uncertainty). The current study sought to test whether IU was associated with the various motives for alcohol use, namely coping and conformity motives, and to investigate the relationship between the IUS-12 subfactors and motives for alcohol use. Undergraduates (N = 189) completed self-report measures assessing motives for drinking alcohol, depression and IU. Analyses revealed that IU was significantly associated with coping, conformity, and social motives for alcohol use, after covarying for levels of depression and gender. Additionally, results revealed that the prospective subscale of IU was significantly related to coping motives for drinking. Finally, hierarchical regression found the inhibitory subscale of IU to be significantly associated with conformity motives for alcohol use. Findings suggest that IU may be an important vulnerability factor contributing to drinking motives and greater alcohol use. IU may be a useful treatment target for protocols aiming to prevent the development of negative drinking motives.