Support From Health Care Providers and the Psychological Adjustment of Individuals Experiencing Infertility

Authors

  • Penny S. Brucker PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.
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  • Patrick C. McKenry PhD

    professor
    1. Department of Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University, Columbus.
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Penny S. Brucker, PhD, 339 E. Chicago Avenue, 717 Wieboldt Hall, The Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail: p-brucker@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the relationship between support from health care providers and psychological adjustment for men and women experiencing infertility.

Design: Survey research using confidential self-administered questionnaires.

Participants: One hundred twenty individuals experiencing infertility within their couple relationship participated in this study (60.8% women; 29.3% men).

Main Outcome Measures: Perceived support from health care providers was hypothesized to be related to stress, anxiety, and depression. Various treatment variables were held constant in the regression analyses.

Results: For women, perceived support from health care providers did not predict levels of stress, depression, or anxiety. For men, greater levels of perceived support from health care providers predicted lower levels of stress (FChange= 4.90, p < .05) and anxiety (FChange= 4.81, p < .05) but not depression.

Conclusion: Much research exists indicating that friend and family support is a buffer to negative psychological adjustment for women. The results of this study emphasize that the study of support from nurses and other health care providers might provide greater understanding of ways to buffer negative psychological adjustment for men experiencing infertility in the couple relationship.

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