Perception of control, coping and psychological stress of infertile women undergoing IVF

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Kleanthi Gourounti, Fotios Anagnostopoulos, Grigoris Potamianos, Katerina Lykeridou, Lone Schmidt, Grigorios Vaslamatzis

The study aimed to examine: (i) the association between perception of infertility controllability and coping strategies; and (ii) the association between perception of infertility controllability and coping strategies to psychological distress, applying multivariate statistical techniques to control for the effects of demographic variables. This cross-sectional study included 137 women with fertility problems undergoing IVF in a public hospital. All participants completed questionnaires that measured fertility-related stress, state anxiety, depressive symptomatology, perception of control and coping strategies. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were calculated between all study variables, followed by hierarchical multiple linear regression. Low perception of personal and treatment controllability was associated with frequent use of avoidance coping and high perception of treatment controllability was positively associated with problem-focused coping. Multivariate analysis showed that, when controlling for demographic factors, low perception of personal control and avoidance coping were positively associated with fertility-related stress and state anxiety, and problem-appraisal coping was negatively and significantly associated with fertility-related stress and depressive symptomatology scores. The findings of this study merit the understanding of the role of control perception and coping in psychological stress of infertile women to identify beforehand those women who might be at risk of experiencing high stress and in need of support.
Infertility and its treatment are severe stressors and many women undergoing fertility treatment experience significant emotional distress. The existing literature indicates that several factors may influence emotional reactions to infertility and fertility treatment, including coping strategies and sense of controllability. This study showed that low perception of controllability was associated with avoidance coping. In addition, the study demonstrated that perception of infertility controllability and coping strategies were related to psychological stress. Therefore, healthcare professionals should enhance the implementation of interventions and support services for infertile women undergoing fertility treatment in order to enhance sense of control and alter coping skills of those women believed to be at risk.


Original languageEnglish
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Volume24
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)670-679
Number of pages10
ISSN1472-6483
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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