University of Twente Student Theses


What is the relation between stress, anxiety, and intolerance of uncertainty?

Weist, F. (2020) What is the relation between stress, anxiety, and intolerance of uncertainty?

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Abstract:Mental health issues among University students pose a prevailing problem in the current educational setting with students regularly reporting high levels of stress and anxiety. University is an uncertain period paired with different stressors and instabilities that not every student is able to properly deal with. Literature suggests that a person’s intolerance to uncertainty (IU) affects stress and anxiety. This study investigates the relation between stress, anxiety, and IU in students at the University of Twente. More specifically, it will assess whether stress positively predicts anxiety and if, IU moderates this relationship. Additionally, gender will also be examined in this context due to its link to stress and anxiety. A quantitative cross-sectional online-survey research design (N=1268) was used to collect data from students attending the University of Twente in spring of 2019. To measure stress, anxiety and IU, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14), the Brief Measure for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and the short version of the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) were used, respectively. Independent sample t-tests and stepwise multiple regression analyses were executed to test the hypotheses. Gender differences were found across stress, anxiety and IU with women reporting higher levels. As hypothesized, stress positively predicted anxiety and IU significantly moderated this relationship. Explorative analyses revealed a moderation effect for men, but not for women. The moderation-effect was small; however, it still shows the need for further research and interventions aimed to improve students’ mental well-being. The findings offer directions by showing IU’s unique role in the relationship of stress and anxiety. Tackling students’ tolerance of uncertainty might improve their coping with anxiety.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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