Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) Mechanisms of Change in Psychological Therapies for Chronic Pain; 2) An Evaluation of the Psychosocial Group Programme at an Inpatient Detoxification and Stabilization Unit; 3) Coping and Tolerance of Uncertainty: Predictors and Mediators of Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic

  • Hannah Rettie

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Objectives: The current pandemic wave of COVID-19 has resulted in significant uncertainty for the general public. Mental health and examining factors that may influence distress have been outlined as key research priorities in order to inform interventions. This research sought to examine whether intolerance of uncertainty and coping responses influence the degree of distress experienced by the UK general public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Utilising a cross-sectional online questionnaire design, participants were recruited (N= 842) using snowball sampling over a 10-day period in the early ‘lockdown’ phase of the pandemic. Findings: Around a quarter of participants demonstrated significantly elevated anxiety and depression, with 14.8% reaching clinical cut-off for health anxiety. A one-way MANOVA indicated those in ‘vulnerable’ groups were significantly more anxious (p< .001), and also more anxious in relation to their health (p< .001). Mediation modelling demonstrated maladaptive coping responses partially mediated the predictive relationship between intolerance of uncertainty and psychological distress. Conclusions: Mental health difficulties have become significantly raised during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, particularly for the vulnerable. Findings support emerging research suggesting the general public are struggling with uncertainty, more so than normal. Vulnerable groups are more anxious about their health, but not more intolerant of uncertainty than the non-vulnerable. Finally, this study indicated two modifiable factors that could act as treatment targets when adapting interventions for mental health during the COVID-19 global health crisis.
Date of Award15 Sept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJo Daniels (Supervisor), Emma Griffith (Supervisor), Emma Fisher (Supervisor) & Sarah Stacey (Supervisor)

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