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Resilience in infertile couples acts as a protective factor against infertility-specific distress and impaired quality of life

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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.

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The authors thank Christopher R. Newton for his support and for the authorisation of the German version of the FPI.

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The authors have no conflict of interest to report.

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Correspondence to Tewes Wischmann.

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Herrmann, D., Scherg, H., Verres, R. et al. Resilience in infertile couples acts as a protective factor against infertility-specific distress and impaired quality of life. J Assist Reprod Genet 28, 1111–1117 (2011).

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