Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 313-331

First online:

Efficacy of Emotion-Focused and Problem-Focused Group Therapies for Women with Fertility Problems

  • Debra A. McQueeneyAffiliated withUniversity of Kansas
  • , Annette L. StantonAffiliated withUniversity of Kansas
  • , Sandra SigmonAffiliated withUniversity of Maine

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Competing positions exist in the literature regarding whether problem-focused or emotion-focused coping is more useful when one confronts a chronic health-related problem. In this study, 29 infertile women, who on average had been attempting conception for almost 4 years, were assigned to six sessions of training in problem- or emotion-focused coping or to a no-treatment control condition. Problem-focused training produced improvements in general distress and infertility-specific well-being at treatment termination. However, emotion-focused training resulted in greater improvement at a 1-month follow-up. Emotion-focused participants reported less depression and more infertility-specific well-being at 1 month than did controls. At 18 months, problem-focused group members were more likely to have a child than were other participants. Results argue for the efficacy of both emotion-directed and problem-focused interventions in women's adjustment to infertility.

coping infertility stress psychotherapy chronic disease