Intolerance of Uncertainty in Eating Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Melanie Brown, Lauren Robinson, Giovanna Cristina Campione, Kelsey Wuensch, Tom Hildebrandt, Nadia Micali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Intolerance of uncertainty is an empirically supported transdiagnostic construct that may have relevance in understanding eating disorders. We conducted a meta-analysis and systematic review of intolerance of uncertainty in eating disorders using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. We calculated random-effects standardised mean differences (SMD) for studies utilising the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) and summarised additional studies descriptively. Women with eating disorders have significantly higher IUS scores compared with healthy controls (SMD = 1.90; 95% C.I. 1.24 to 2.56; p < 0.001). Post hoc meta-analysis revealed significant differences when comparing women with anorexia nervosa with controls (SMD = 2.16; 95% C.I. 1.14 to 3.18; p < 0.001) and women with bulimia nervosa with controls (SMD = 2.03; 95% C.I. 1.30 to 2.75; p < 0.001). Our synthesis of findings suggests that intolerance of uncertainty may represent a vulnerability and maintenance factor for eating disorders and potential target of cognitive, behavioural, interoceptive and affective symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-343
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa
  • eating disorders
  • intolerance of uncertainty
  • neurobiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intolerance of Uncertainty in Eating Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this