The Unique and Interacting Contributions of Intolerance of Uncertainty and Rumination to Individual Differences in, and Diagnoses of, Depression

  • T. J. Barry
  • C. García-Moreno
  • C. Sánchez-Mora
  • P. Campos-Moreno
  • M. J. Montes-Lozano
  • Jorge J. RicarteEmail author


Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) and the tendency to repetitively think in a negative way about oneself are established contributors to depression; however, no study has yet examined the unique and interacting effects of these variables to depression symptoms and diagnoses amongst people with major depressive disorder (MDD). People with MDD (n = 48) and diagnoses-free, community controls (n = 66) completed self-report measures of depression, anxiety and IU, as well as constructive (focusing on how events occurred) and unconstructive (focusing on how events felt) rumination. In a linear regression, greater IU and diminished constructive rumination, and the interaction between IU and unconstructive rumination, each explained variance in depression symptoms, even when anxiety symptoms were accounted for. In a logistic regression, these variables did not contribute towards MDD diagnoses once anxiety symptoms were accounted for. Rumination about one’s mood is associated with enhanced distress during uncertainty, with detrimental effects for one’s depression symptoms.


Depression Anxiety Ambiguity Repetitive thinking Constructive 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study procedure complied with international and national standards for studies with human participants. Ethical approval for the study was provided by the Research Committee of the Albacete, Spain, Health Area (05/2017CEIm).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & NeuroscienceKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Mental Health Service of Castilla-La Mancha, Adult Mental Health UnitUniversity Complex HospitalAlbaceteSpain
  4. 4.Psychology Department, School of MedicineUniversidad de Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain
  5. 5.Facultad de Medicina de AlbaceteAlbaceteSpain

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