This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 1990 Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association. This research was supported by grant number HD 21240 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The authors want to thank the physicians and staff of the medical clinics who provided access to their patients, the Southeastern Michigan Resolve and Endometriosis Associations, the Oakland County Clerk's Office, and most of all, the individuals who provided the information reported here.
GENDER'S ROLE IN RESPONSES TO INFERTILITY
Article first published online: 28 JUL 2006
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 15, Issue 2, pages 295–316, June 1991
How to Cite
Abbey, A., Andrews, F. M. and Halrnan, L. J. (1991), GENDER'S ROLE IN RESPONSES TO INFERTILITY. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15: 295–316. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1991.tb00798.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 28 JUL 2006
- First draft received: October 15, 1990, Final draft received: Jonuary 29, 1991
Infertility is a major life stressor that affects approximately 10% of U.S. married couples. Infertile women and men have reported experiencing depression, helplessness, and marital strain. Given U.S. society's emphasis on women's role as mothers, it has been suggested that women's lives are more disrupted by infertility than those of men. This hypothesis was supported in a survey of 185 infertile couples and 90 presumed fertile couples. Infertile wives, as compared to their husbands, perceived their fertility problem as more stressful, felt more responsible for and in control of their infertility, and engaged in more problem-focused coping. Infertile husbands experienced more home life stress and lower home life performance than did their wives. These differences were not found for presumed fertile couples. Both infertile and presumed fertile wives experienced more depression, more sexual dissatisfaction, and lower self-esteem than did their husbands. Theoretical and counseling implications of these findings are discussed.