The role of intolerance of uncertainty in the relationship between daily search for and presence of meaning in life




meaning, intolerance of uncertainty, search for meaning, personality processes, daily diary


People who are highly intolerant of uncertainty have a propensity to fear the unknown, which influences perceptions and desires for control and predictability (Carleton, 2016). Processes related to searching for and maintaining meaning might deviate based on intolerance of uncertainty as meaning-making can be spurred by breakdowns in one’s sense of understanding or predictability (Park, 2010). The current study was designed to examine within-person relationships between daily search for and presence of meaning, while investigating how people’s intolerance of uncertainty (IU) influences the search-presence relationship. During a three-week daily diary study, results showed that daily search significantly predicted same-day presence and presence the following day. IU significantly moderated the effects of search on presence such that people who were highly intolerant of uncertainty experienced less presence when they engaged in searching than low IU participants. Results suggest researchers should consider the potential consequences of IU in limiting the development of a vital well-being resource, presence of meaning.


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Author Biographies

Jessica L Morse, Colorado State University

Ph.D. student, Counseling Psychology, Department of Psychology

Mark A Prince, Colorado State University

Assistant Professor Counseling Psychology, Associate Director of Addiction Counseling, Department of Psychology 


Michael F Steger, Colorado State University

Center for Meaning and Purpose

Professor, Department of Psychology, Colorado State University 

Optentia Research Programme, North-West University, Vanderbijklpark, South Africa