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Does infertility history affect the emotional adjustment of couples undergoing assisted reproduction? The mediating role of importance of parenthood

Moura-Ramos, Mariana, Gameiro, Sofia ORCID:, Canavarro, Maria Cristina and Santos, Teresa 2016. Does infertility history affect the emotional adjustment of couples undergoing assisted reproduction? The mediating role of importance of parenthood. British Journal of Health Psychology 21 (2) 10.1111/bjhp.12169

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Objectives The emotional adjustment of couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments has been widely studied; however, it remains unclear whether infertility history contributes to couples' adjustment. This study examined the impact of infertility history (duration of infertility and number of previous ART treatment cycles) on the emotional adjustment of couples undergoing an ART cycle and the mediating effect of importance of parenthood on that association. Methods In this cross-sectional study, 70 infertile couples (70 women and 70 men) completed self-report questionnaires assessing emotional adjustment and infertility stress during the hormonal stimulation phase of an ART cycle. Path models accounting for the dyadic nature of the data examined the direct and indirect effects (by affecting representations about parenthood and childlessness) of infertility history on emotional adjustment. Results The number of previous cycles affected men's, but not women's, emotional adjustment by affecting the representations on the importance of parenthood and of childlessness. Duration of infertility had the opposite effect, as couples with longer infertility reported heightened importance of parenthood, which negatively affected their emotional adjustment. Conclusions Infertility history was associated with emotional adjustment in men and women, although these associations were complex. The results suggest that progression through treatment is harder for those men and women who attribute higher importance to being parents, which is aggravated by longer infertility.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: Article first published online: 2 NOV 2015 This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 2044-8287
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 25 September 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 11:38

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