Intolerance of uncertainty

Kevin N. Alschuler, Meghan L. Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and progressive neurologic condition that, by its nature, carries uncertainty as a hallmark characteristic. Although all patients face uncertainty, there is variability in how individuals cope with its presence. In other populations, the concept of "intolerance of uncertainty" has been conceptualized to explain this variability such that individuals who have difficulty tolerating the possibility of future occurrences may engage in thoughts or behaviors by which they attempt to exert control over that possibility or lessen the uncertainty but may, as a result, experience worse outcomes, particularly in terms of psychological well-being. This topical review introduces MS-focused researchers, clinicians, and patients to intolerance of uncertainty, integrates the concept with what is already understood about coping with MS, and suggests future steps for conceptual, assessment, and treatment-focused research that may benefit from integrating intolerance of uncertainty as a central feature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-158
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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