To date, there is a significant lack of research validating clinical tools for early and accurate detection of anxiety disorders in perinatal populations. Intolerance of uncertainty was recently identified as a significant risk factor for postpartum anxiety symptoms and is a key trait of non-perinatal anxiety disorders. The present study aimed to validate the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS) in a perinatal population and evaluate its use as a screening tool for anxiety disorders.
Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed in a sample of perinatal women (
n= 198), in addition to completing a self-report battery of questionnaires. Psychometric properties including internal consistency and convergent and discriminant validity were assessed. Determination of an optimal clinical cut-off score was measured through a ROC analysis in which the area under the curve, sensitivity, specificity, as well as positive and negative predictive values were calculated. Results
The IUS demonstrated excellent internal consistency (α = 0.95) and an optimal clinical cut-off score of 64 or greater was established, yielding a sensitivity of 89%. The IUS also demonstrated very good positive (79%) and negative (80%) predictive values.
These findings suggest that the IUS represents a clinically useful screening tool to be used as an aid for the early and accurate detection of perinatal anxiety.