International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 154–164 | Cite as

Religious Women’s Coping with Infertility: Do Culturally Adapted Religious Coping Strategies Contribute to Well-Being and Health?

  • Hani NoumanEmail author
  • Yael Benyamini



Infertility is a source of stress, particularly in pronatalist societies in which a lifestyle without children is viewed as an unacceptable option. The present study examined the relationship between the use of culturally adapted religious coping strategies and emotional adjustment among women coping with fertility problems.


This is a cross-sectional correlational study. One hundred and eighty-six religious Israeli women undergoing fertility treatment filled out questionnaires assessing their use of culturally adapted religious coping strategies and emotional adjustment (distress/well-being).


A path analysis showed that the culturally adapted religious coping strategies of seeking the support of Rabbis and seeking the support of God had a strong correlation with reduced psychological distress, but not with enhanced psychological well-being. Seeking approval and recognition from the community was correlated with reduced distress and enhanced well-being. However, seeking ties and belonging to the community was correlated with increased psychological distress and reduced psychological well-being. Finally, women without children experienced greater psychological distress than women with children and sought more support of Rabbis and fewer ties with the community.


In a pronatalist culture that sanctifies childbirth, infertility is a source of significant distress. Professionals’ awareness of the culturally adapted religious coping strategies utilized by their clients may help them conduct culturally sensitive intervention, which may greatly help to enhance emotional adjustment. Future research is recommended to develop instruments that measure culturally adapted strategies and their influence on emotional adjustment over time, in different states of health while comparing different cultures.


Infertility Sociocultural Coping Religion Distress Well-being 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Work, University of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Bob Shapell School of Social WorkTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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