Resilience in infertile couples acts as a protective factor against infertility-specific distress and impaired quality of life
- 648 Downloads
Our hypothesis was that resilience (=psychosocial stress-resistance) reduces infertility-specific distress and maintains quality of life of infertile couples.
Questionnaire data of WHO Quality of Life assessment (WHOQOL; domains: ‘physical’, ‘psychological’, ‘social relationships’ and ‘environment’), Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI; scales: ‘social concern’, ‘sexual concern’, ‘relationship concern’, ‘rejection of childfree lifestyle’ and ‘need for parenthood’), Resilience Scale (RS), as well as sociographic and medical data were available for 199 infertile couples.
Age, medical diagnosis and ‘intensity of desire for a child’ had no influence on quality of life. High scores on ‘suffering from childlessness’ went along with less satisfaction on ‘physical’ and ‘psychological’ domains for the women only. For both partners, high scores on ‘suffering from childlessness’ went along with higher scores on all FPI scales. High resilience was associated with high scores on all WHOQOL domains for both partners, also with low scores on all FPI scales except for ‘need for parenthood’ for the women and with a low score only on ’relationship concern’ for the men.
For infertile couples, resilience can be considered as an unspecific protective factor against infertility-specific distress and impaired quality of life. When offering counselling to involuntarily childless couples, awareness should be raised for resilience as a couple’s resource and a “generic” factor of coping.
KeywordsPsychological factors Infertility-specific distress Resilience Quality of life Infertility Protective factor
The authors thank Christopher R. Newton for his support and for the authorisation of the German version of the FPI.
Conflict of Interest Disclosure
The authors have no conflict of interest to report.
- 2.Henning K, Strauß B. Psychological and psychosomatic aspects of involuntary childlessness: State of research at the end of the 1990s. In: Strauß B, editor. Involuntary childlessness. Psychological assessment, counselling and psychotherapy. Seattle: Hogrefe & Huber; 2002. p. 3–18.Google Scholar
- 3.Burns LH, Covington SH. Psychology of infertility. In: Covington SH, Burns LH, editors. Infertility counseling a comprehensive handbook for clinicans. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2006. p. 1–19.Google Scholar
- 5.Dunkel-Schetter C, Lobel M. Psychological reaction to infertility. In: Stanton A, Dunkel-Schetter C, editors. Infertility. Perspectives from stress and coping research. New York: Plenum Press; 1991. p. 29–57.Google Scholar
- 10.Wischmann T, Stammer H, Gerhard I, Verres R. Couple counseling and therapy for the unfulfilled desire for a child—The two-step approach of the “Heidelberg infertility consultation service”. In: Strauß B, editor. Involuntarily childlessness—Psychological assessment, counseling and psychotherapy. Seattle: Hogrefe International; 2002. p. 127–49.Google Scholar
- 11.Covington SH, Burns LH, editors. Infertility counseling. A comprehensive handbook for clinicians. 2nd ed. Cambridge London New York: Cambridge University Press; 2006.Google Scholar
- 13.Boivin J, Kentenich H, editors. Guidelines for counselling in infertility. ESHRE monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
- 18.Rutter M. Resilience reconsidered: conceptual considerations, empirical findings, and policy implications. In: Shonkoff JP, Meisels SJ, editors. Handbook of early childhood intervention. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2000. p. 651–82.Google Scholar
- 21.Angermeyer MC, Kilian R, Matschinger H. World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL). Göttingen: Hogrefe; 2000.Google Scholar
- 23.Leppert K. RS—Resilienzskala. In: Brähler E, Schumacher J, Strauß B, editors. Diagnostische Verfahren in der Psychotherapie. Göttingen: Hogrefe; 2002. p. 295–8.Google Scholar
- 24.Schumacher J, Leppert K, Gunzelmann T, Strauß B, Brähler E. Die Resilienzskala—Ein Fragebogen zur Erfassung der psychischen Widerstandsfähigkeit als Personmerkmal. Z Klin Psychol Psychiatr Psychother. 2005;53:16–39.Google Scholar
- 25.Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale New York: Erlbaum; 1988.Google Scholar
- 26.Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland (2003) www. destatis de.Google Scholar
- 33.Gibson DM, Myers JE. The effect of social coping resources and growth-fostering relationships on infertility stress in women. J Mental Health Counsel. 2002;24:68–80.Google Scholar
- 37.Richardson GE, Waite PJ. Mental health promotion through resilience and resiliency education. Int J Emerg Mental Health. 2002;4:65–75.Google Scholar
- 39.Boivin J, Takefman J, Braverman A. The Fertility Quality of Life (FertiQoL) tool: development and general psychometric properties. Fertil Steril 2011; In Press, Corrected Proof.Google Scholar