Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 11–26

Psychological functioning across stages of treatment for infertility

  • Barbara J. Berg
  • John F. Wilson

DOI: 10.1007/BF00844765

Cite this article as:
Berg, B.J. & Wilson, J.F. J Behav Med (1991) 14: 11. doi:10.1007/BF00844765


Psychological functioning was examined for a cross section of 104 couples in different stages of medical investigation for infertility. Couples were separated into three stages based upon the length of time they had been pursuing medical treatment for infertility: year 1, year 2, and year 3 and beyond. Emotional strain was moderately elevated during the first year, returned to more normal levels during the second year, and showed marked increases beyond year 3. Indices of marital adjustment and sexual satisfaction were stable across the first two stages but deteriorated after the third year. These data suggest that the stage of treatment may exert a major influence upon psychological functioning for infertile couples pursuing medical assistance. The results are consistent with a model of psychological strain that reflects an acute stress reaction to the initial diagnosis and treatment overlaid with a chronic strain response to longer-term treatment.

Key words

infertilitystrainstresstreatment stage

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara J. Berg
    • 1
  • John F. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine Office BuildingUniversity of KentuckyLexington