TA Concept Paper

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Many of the early studies in this area were psychometric studies that attempted to construct a valid, self-report, measure of TA. Budner (1962) defined TA as “the tendency to perceive ambiguous situations as desirable” and set about one of the first measures in the field. McLain (1993) included contextual information, defining TA as “a range, from rejection to attraction, of reactions to stimuli perceived as unfamiliar, complex, dynamically uncertain or subject to multiple conflicting interpretations” (p. 184). There has expectedly been debate on the dimensionality of the TA concept. Durrheim and Foster (1997) propose that TA is a context-specific construct, not a personality trait, and others advocate the use of contextualized measures (Herman,…show more content…
Instead it is thought that constructs that are defined by an absence of information (e.g. risk-taking behavior) are more relevant and are more useful validating TA measures. The TA research literature appears to have three different features: there have been work on similar concepts to TA which is discussed below; there have been an increase of experimental over correlational studies; and a more of an interest in the effects of TA in the work environment. 2.3 Conceptual and Definitional Issues Uncertainty avoidance and risk-taking propensity which have been described, are clearly very similar to TA. Hofstede (1984) recognized uncertainty avoidance as a characteristic of cultures and developed an uncertainty avoidance index. The distribution of the personality variable “uncertainty avoidance” has been studied in different societies, thus making it a “sociological variable”, where uncertainty avoidance was defined as “the extent to which people feel threatened by ambiguous situations, and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these” (p. 419). Most researchers interested in uncertainty avoidance are cross-cultural or organizational psychologists who are interested in comparing groups of…show more content…
As a consequence, these researchers seem not to have developed many self-report measures of uncertainty avoidance. There is also a clinical literature on Tolerance of Uncertainty (TU) which has been conceived of as a cognitive disposition that confers risk of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Birrell, Meares, Wilkinson & Freeston, 2011). Various self-report measures have been developed which are often validated against measures of anxiety, depression and worry (Carleton, Norton & Asmundson, 2007). TU is associated with worries and negative expectations of the future and is therefore often involved in research of anxiety disorders (Ladouceur et al., 2000). TU is usually measured using the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (Freeston et al., 1994), which is made up of 27 items. Its internal consistency is high, α = 0.91 and Dugas et al. (1997) reported a test-retest reliability of 0.78 over a five week period. The scale is used as a clinical tool in the diagnosis of GAD (Freeston et al., 1994). It continues to be
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