The long-term psychosocial effects of infertility.J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1995 Jul-Aug; 24(6):517-22.JO
To explore the psychosocial effects of infertility and the role that social support plays over time. The major hypothesis was that although infertile persons report less contentment, lower levels of marital and sexual satisfaction, and lower self-esteem over time, those with higher levels of social support will be less affected.
Four questionnaires were completed in subjects' own homes, one every 9 months.
Subjects, all of whom perceived themselves as infertile, were recruited through the national newsletter for an infertility support group. Ninety-four subjects entered the study, and 41% of the sample completed it.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Contentment, marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, self-esteem, sex-role identity, press (the measure of perceived internal and external pressures), and social support.
Perceived support (F[3, 111] = 4.77, p < 0.004), as well as contentment and self-esteem, significantly increased over time (F[3, 111] = 12.03, p < 0.0001, and F[3, 111] = 5.378, p < 0.002, respectively). Social support was positively correlated with all dependent measures.
Contrary to what was hypothesized, infertile persons experienced increased social support and greater contentment over time. As hypothesized, there was a significant positive relationship between social support and all dependent measures. The positive impact of social support, counseling, and the adoption of strategies to deal with the stress of infertility lends credence to the crucial role nurses can play in helping infertile couples cope.