International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 252–259 | Cite as

Dyadic Goal Appraisal During Treatment for Infertility: How Do Different Perspectives Relate to Partners' Adjustment?

  • Elizabeth H. Thompson
  • Julia T. Woodward
  • Annette L. Stanton



Infertility often is a dyadic stressor that constitutes blockage of a major life goal.


This study's primary aims were to examine heterosexual partners' goal appraisals during treatment for infertility and to test whether the direct effects of and interactions between partners' goal-related perceptions were associated with each partner's adjustment.


Women (n = 37) receiving fertility treatment and their male partners (n = 37) completed measures of goal appraisal and psychological adjustment.


Partners did not differ on ratings of the importance of the goal of parenthood, but women indicated lower perceived chance of becoming pregnant and higher perceived goal blockage than their partners. Goal appraisals were moderately correlated between partners and uncorrelated with the number of treatment procedures undergone by the couple. Women reported greater depressive symptoms, more infertility-specific thought intrusion, and lower positive states of mind than their partners. Women's appraisal of greater likelihood of becoming pregnant was psychologically protective, but greater perceived likelihood of becoming pregnant reported by their partners was associated with women's negative psychological adjustment.


Examining the associations between couples' goal appraisals and psychological adjustment may aid in developing targeted interventions to promote psychological adjustment to infertility. The small sample may have prevented identifying interactions between partners' goal assessment measures.


Goal appraisal Infertility Couple Dyadic stressor Psychological adjustment 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth H. Thompson
    • 1
  • Julia T. Woodward
    • 2
  • Annette L. Stanton
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Los Angeles, CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical CenterDuke Fertility CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.UCLA Department of PsychologyLos AngelesUSA

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