Date of Graduation


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Shari Steinman

Committee Member

Nicholas Turiano

Committee Member

Kelsey Evey

Committee Member

Cierra Edwards


Intolerance of uncertainty (IU), the intense discomfort or inability to handle uncertain situations, is a transdiagnostic factor across multiple forms of psychopathology. Heightened levels of IU have been found in individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and have been found to significantly predict OCPD traits, such as emotional difficulties. However, no study to date has looked at the relationship between IU and experienced emotions in OCPD. The proposed study assessed at what level specific emotions occurred in an unselected OCPD sample and if intolerance of uncertainty predicted emotion beyond OCPD. In order to examine this relationship, 119 participants from Amazon’s MTurk read and imagined themselves in hypothetical scenarios modeled after OCPD criterion from the DSM-5. Questionnaires following each scenario assessed to what degree the participants experienced specific emotions when imagining themselves in the situation. A series of three hierarchical regressions were conducted to determine the extent to which intolerance of uncertainty predicts experienced emotions (hostility, fear, general positive affect) above and beyond OCPD. It was hypothesized that OCPD would predict measured emotions and that IU would predict emotions beyond OCPD. In partial support of our hypotheses, results revealed that while OCPD significantly predicted fear and hostility, it did not predict general positive affect. Additionally, IU predicted hostility above and beyond OCPD, but IU did not predict fear or general positive affect above and beyond OCPD. The findings suggest that there is a relationship between OCPD symptoms, IU, and experienced emotions. Specifically, IU may be an important component of the expression of anger in OCPD patients and thus may be a crucial piece to treatment. Future studies should utilize a clinical OCPD sample, valid hypothetical scenarios, and a more specific and direct measure of emotions.

Included in

Psychology Commons