Uncertainty, checking, and intolerance of uncertainty in subclinical obsessive compulsive disorder: An extended replication

Marieke B.J. Toffolo*, Marcel A. van den Hout, Iris M. Engelhard, Ignace T.C. Hooge, Daniëlle C. Cath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recently, Toffolo, van den Hout, Hooge, Engelhard, and Cath (2013, 1, 103-109) showed that individuals with subclinical OCD (OC+) respond with more checking behavior to mildly uncertain situations than individuals with low OC tendencies (OC-). The present study aimed to replicate and extend these findings by measuring Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU), and including the whole range of OC tendencies in a correlation analysis. Participants filled out the Obsessive Compulsive Inventory Revised and Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale and performed a visual search task. This task contained 50 search displays, in which participants indicated whether a target was "present" or "absent". Target-present trials were straight-forward, but target-absent trials were ambiguous, because participants had to rely on not having overlooked the target. Results revealed that target-absent trials induced more uncertainty than target-present trials. Furthermore, OC+ participants checked longer than OC- participants in target-absent but not target-present trials. This could not be explained by higher IU in OC+ participants. There were no differences in number of fixations in absent and present trials between the groups. Finally, when looking at the whole range of OC tendencies, there was a positive relation between OC tendencies and checking behavior. The findings (partly) replicated those of Toffolo et al. (2013) and add to their robustness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Checking
  • Eye tracking
  • Intolerance of uncertainty
  • OCD
  • Uncertainty


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