Examining the Congruence between Couples' Perceived Infertility-Related Stress and its Relationship to Depression and Marital Adjustment in Infertile Men and Women
Peterson, Brennan Daniel
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Recent studies have shown that the experience of infertility is linked with emotional responses such as depression, anxiety, guilt, social isolation, and decreased self-esteem in both men and women. This study explored the impact of congruence between couples' infertility-related stress and its effects on depression and marital adjustment in infertile men and women. Study participants were comprised of 525 couples referred to a university-affiliated teaching hospital for assessment and treatment with advanced reproductive technologies. Participants completed the Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) three months prior to their first treatment cycle. The impact of differences between couples' perceptions of infertility-related stress were examined in relation to their effect on individual levels of depression and marital adjustment in both men and women. Results showed that differences between couple's evaluations of infertility-related stress were predictive of female depression, but not male depression. Women in couples who reported high levels of congruence (e.g., agreement) concerning the impact of infertility-related stress had significantly lower levels of depression when compared to couples in which females experienced a greater amount of stress than their partners. In terms of marital adjustment, men and women in couples who reported high levels of congruence concerning the impact of infertility-related stress reported significantly higher levels of adjustment when compared to couples who differed in their appraisals of the stress. Treatment implications based on these findings and future research directions are discussed.
- Masters Theses