Relationships between autism spectrum disorder and intolerance of uncertainty

Roma A. Vasa, Nicole L. Kreiser, Amy Keefer, Vini Singh, Stewart H. Mostofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is a dispositional risk factor involving maladaptive responding under conditions of uncertainty. Recent data indicate that IU is likely elevated in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is positively correlated with anxiety. This study examined whether IU may be associated with ASD independent of anxiety. Relationships between anxiety, ASD, and IU were examined in 57 children with ASD without co-occurring intellectual disability and 32 control participants, ages 7–16 years. Hierarchal linear regressions were run to examine whether ASD variables, including emotion dysregulation, were predictive of IU when controlling for anxiety. Severity of social communication deficits, repetitive behaviors, and emotion dysregulation were each related to IU when controlling for the effects of anxiety. When these variables were entered into the regression model together, emotion dysregulation was the only significant predictor of IU. These findings suggest that IU is directly related to features of ASD possibly due to shared genetic, neurological, or psychological underpinnings. Autism Res 2018, 11: 636–644.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-644
Number of pages9
JournalAutism Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • anxiety
  • autism
  • emotion dysregulation
  • intolerance of uncertainty
  • worry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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