Infertility-related stress and specific aspects of the marital relationship

Van der Merwe, Elanza (2010-03)

Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In all or most cultures, the experience of infertility has the potential to threaten the well-being of individuals and relationships. The marital relationship of couples experiencing infertility might be impacted negatively by infertility-related stress. This study aimed primarily to examine the nature of the relationship between perceived infertility-related stress, experienced by husbands and wives in infertile couples, and four specific aspects of the marital relationship. In addition, it was examined whether there were significant differences in four specific aspects of the marital relationship between infertile couples at the onset of different types of infertility treatment, and a pregnant control group. This cross-sectional, baseline study utilised standardised self-report questionnaires to make onceoff assessments of infertility-related stress and four specific aspects of the marital relationship: communication, satisfaction with the sexual relationship, intimacy, and marital adjustment. The demographic characteristics of the participants were also recorded. A total of 84 women and 32 men from two infertility clinics in the Western Cape (N = 116) were studied. From calculating Pearson correlation coefficients, highly significant correlations (p < .001) were found between infertility-related stress and all aspects of the marital relationship as measured in this study. Multiple regression analyses revealed communication as an important predictor of aspects of the marital relationship, in addition to infertility-related stress as a predictor. ANOVAs revealed no significant differences in specific aspects of the marital relationship between the infertile groups and the pregnant control group. The findings suggest that high levels of infertility-related stress might be detrimental to the wellbeing of the marital relationship of couples experiencing infertility. In addition, the importance of communication as a buffer against the potential negative effects of infertility-related stress was emphasised. Future research should incorporate a longitudinal design and investigate the nature of the relationship between infertility-related stress and the marital relationship.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Infertiliteit word in alle of die meeste kulture beskou as ’n krisis wat die welstand van individue en verhoudings kan bedreig. Die huweliksverhouding van pare wat infertiliteit ervaar kan negatief beïnvloed word deur infertiliteitsverwante stres. Die primêre doelstelling van hierdie ondersoek was om die aard van die verhouding tussen waargenome infertiliteitsverwante stres, soos ervaar deur die mans en vroue in infertiele pare, en vier spesifieke aspekte van die huweliksverhouding te ondersoek. Bykomend is daar ook ondersoek of daar beduidende verskille voorgekom het in vier spesifieke aspekte van die huweliksverhouding tussen infertiele pare aan die begin van verskillende tipes van infertiliteitsbehandeling en ‘n swanger kontrolegroep. Hierdie deursnee-, basislyn ondersoek het van gestandaardiseerde selfrapporteringsvraelyste gebruik gemaak ten einde eenmalige assesserings te doen van infertiliteitsverwante stres en vier spesifieke aspekte van die huweliksverhouding: kommunikasie, tevredenheid met die seksuele verhouding, intimiteit, en huweliksaanpassing. Demografiese besonderhede van die deelnemers is ook ingesamel en aangeteken. In totaal het 84 vrouens en 32 mans (N = 116) van twee infertiliteitsklinieke in die Wes-Kaap aan die ondersoek deelgeneem. Met die berekening van Pearson korrelasiekoëffisiënte is hoogs beduidende korrelasies (p < .001) gevind tussen infertiliteitsverwante stres en die vier gemete aspekte van die huweliksverhouding. Op grond van meervoudige regressieontledings het kommunikasie na vore gekom as ‘n belangrike voorspeller van aspekte van die huweliksverhouding, bykomend tot infertiliteitsverwante stres. ANOVA’s het geen beduidende verskille in spesifieke aspekte van die huweliksverhouding tussen infertiele groepe en die swanger kontrolegroep getoon nie. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat hoë vlakke van infertiliteitsverwante stres nadelig kan wees vir die huweliksverhouding van pare wat infertiliteit ondervind. Daarbenewens moet die belangrikheid van kommunikasie as ‘n buffer teen die potensiële negatiewe gevolge van infertiliteitsverwante stres beklemtoon word. Toekomstige navorsing sal baat by ’n longitudinale ontwerp en daar behoort voortgegaan te word met ondersoeke na die verband tussen infertiliteitsverwante stres en die huweliksverhouding.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4099
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