The relationship between tolerance of ambiguity and multilingualism revisited

Rining Wei, Yifan Kang, Shijie Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Tolerance of ambiguity (TA), an inclination to embrace incongruent scenarios, is highly relevant to second/additional language learning which is an immersion in ambiguity. In applied linguistics research, recent studies have examined TA vis-à-vis multilingualism based on Herman et al.’s (2010) 12-item scale and identified a 3-item dimension of this construct (labelled as TA core) that is hypothesised to exist in different cultural contexts (Wei & Hu, 2019). The present study revisited the relationship between TA and multilingualism by surveying 302 English-knowing multilinguals in China. Factor analysis confirmed the presence of the TA core in the EFL context. A series of Structural Equation Modelling tested the relationships between dimensions of TA and English achievement. Hierarchical regression analyses identified multilingualism (respectively operationalised as a global measure of multilingualism and self-rated proficiency in English), age, and education qualification as potentially important predictors for TA; more importantly, the unique contribution to TA from each of these predictors was calculated by means of a “more refined” (Wei, Liu, & Wang, 2020) data analysis approach based on hierarchical regression. Future research directions (e.g., considering a wider multilingual population and employing the above-cited more refined approach) are also suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102798
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Effect size
  • Hierarchical regression
  • Multilingualism
  • Personality trait
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • Tolerance of ambiguity


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