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Psychological and social aspects of tubal infertility: a longitudinal study of infertile women and their men
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
1985 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

All thirty women who were to undergo microsurgical treatment for tubal infertility in 1981 and their men were investigated. Over a period of 2 years four interviews were performed with the women and two with their men. A questionnaire, semistructured interviews, symptom checklist and the Eysenck Personality Inventory were used. During this longitudinal study the couples' background, current situation and emotional and social impact of the infertility problem were investigated. The psychological and social effects of the medical investigation and treatment have been described. Expectations and hopes about the future after unsuccessful surgical treatment and the need of professional psychosocial counselling have been noted. Furthermore, the extent of psychological reactions compatible with a crisis pattern has been identified and classified. Finally, overt motives for having a child have been studied.

The infertile couples generally did not differ with respect to psychosocial background, current life situation, psychiatric anamnesis or personality characteristics when compared with apparently normal reference groups. Several deleterious emotional and social effects of the infertility were found both before and 2 years after the surgical treatment. The women admitted to suffering such effects more frequently than the men. The partners' feeling for each other were getting worse 2 years after the operation. There was also a tendency to a deterioration in opinions about marital relationships. Most of the mental symptoms recorded could be classified in terms of depression, guilt and isolation, which all are parts of the reactive phase of the common crisis pattern. The crisis of infertility, however, differs from the common traumatic crisis; it is more prolonged and there are often repeated crisis reactions. Negative effects on the couples' sexual life were reported by all individuals. The medical investigation and surgical treatment of infertility influenced the couples' mutual relationship and sexual life negatively.

Intrapsychic and interpersonal motives of childwish were dominant among both women and men. A central motive was that a child is an ultimate expression of love between a man and a woman. The motives of the infertile couples generally did not differ from those of the reference groups.

Most of the couples had difficulty in working their way through and finding a solution to their infertility problem by their own means. Relatives and friends failed to fulfil a supportive function. The importance of having the possibility of professional psychosocial counselling and support parallel with the investigation and treatment were stressed by all participants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1985. , 53 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 152
Keyword [en]
tubal infertility, psychosocial characterization, reactions to treatment, sexual life, marital relationship, infertility crisis, childwish, counselling
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-46966OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-46966DiVA: diva2:441622
Public defence
1985-11-15, Sal B, 9 tr, by 1D, (nya tandläkarhögskolan), Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Supervisors
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2011-09-16 Created: 2011-09-16 Last updated: 2015-04-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A psychosocial characterization of infertile couples before surgical treatment of the female
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A psychosocial characterization of infertile couples before surgical treatment of the female
1985 (English)In: Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ISSN 0167-482X, E-ISSN 1743-8942, Vol. 4, no 2, 83-93 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social background and personality characteristics were examined in 30 infertile women with tubal damage and their 29 men. The emotional and social impact of their infertility was investigated using symptom checklists, the Eysenck Personality Inventory and interviews. The infertile couples did not differ with respect to psychosocial background, current life situation, neuroticism or personality characteristics when compared to psychologically normal controls. The infertility had severe emotional and social effects. Grief, depression, guilt, feelings of inferiority and isolation were commonly reported. The women openly admitted more symptoms than their men. Marital relationship was often affected and in particular the effect on sexual life was negative. Relatives and friends could not fulfill a supportive function, and all couples expressed their need for professional support and counselling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 1985
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-46964 (URN)10.3109/01674828509085264 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-09-16 Created: 2011-09-16 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Psychological reactions to the medical investigation and surgical treatment of infertility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychological reactions to the medical investigation and surgical treatment of infertility
1985 (English)In: Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, ISSN 0378-7346, E-ISSN 1423-002X, Vol. 20, no 4, 209-217 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The psychological effects of the medical investigation and surgical treatment of infertility were investigated. For 2 years 30 women with a diagnosis of tubal damage and 29 men were followed with repeated interviews. Negative effects on sexual life were recorded in all individuals and were associated with the planning of intercourse. Semen analysis was psychologically difficult to half of the men and feelings of shame and degradation were common. Fear and anxiety were increased before reconstructive tubal surgery and postoperative depression was observed in 10 women. Most couples overestimated their chances of having a child and half of them expected pregnancy to occur within a few months. After 2 years the need for professional support and counseling had increased. The medical procedure has psychological side effects in the infertile couple and may provoke anxiety. The investigation should be comprehensive and short, and psychologically traumatic investigations like basal body temperature records should be used with caution. During the period of somatic investigation and treatment repeated discussions about the marital relationship and sexual life should be initiated and psychosocial counseling should be offered to all couples.

National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-41760 (URN)4085924 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2011-04-01 Created: 2011-04-01 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. The psychosocial impact of infertility two years after completed surgical treatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The psychosocial impact of infertility two years after completed surgical treatment
1985 (English)In: Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-6349, E-ISSN 1600-0412, Vol. 64, no 7, 599-604 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Twenty-four infertile couples were interviewed prior to and 2 years after the woman's reconstructive tubal operation. Their marital relationship, social and sexual life, mental health, possible solutions to the infertility problem and need of professional psychosocial counselling were studied. Moreover, various mental symptoms were recorded by means of a 'symptom checklist'. The personality characteristics were evaluated by the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI). The partners feelings for each other were worsening 2 years after the operation. There was also a tendency to a deterioration in the participants' opinion about their marital relationship, but no statistically significant change could be found. The women reported deterioration of sexual life and the men experienced an increased negative influence of the infertility problem on the marital relationship. The negative emotional and social effects of infertility were pronounced both before and 2 years after the surgical treatment. The participants' personality characteristics as regards neuroticism and extroversion had not changed. Most of the infertile couples found it difficult to work on their own towards a solution to the crisis of infertility during the 2 years following the surgical treatment.

National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-41758 (URN)4082934 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2011-04-01 Created: 2011-04-01 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. Depression, guilt and isolation among infertile women and their partners
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Depression, guilt and isolation among infertile women and their partners
1986 (English)In: Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ISSN 0167-482X, E-ISSN 1743-8942, Vol. 5, no 3, 197-206 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The crisis of infertility has been studied in 30 women with tubal damage and the manner in which it affected their partners over a period of 2 years. Altogether, 4 interviews were carried out with the women, and two with the men. The partners of each couple were interviewed individually on the same day a few weeks before and 2 years after a reconstructive tubal operation. Furthermore, the women were interviewed on the first postoperative day, and 1 month later at the second-look laparoscopy. Most of the symptoms recorded during the interviews could be classified in terms of depression, guilt and isolation. The women generally manifested more depressive symptoms than the men who often suppressed or even denied emotional reactions. Feelings of guilt were more common among the women than among the men. Relatives and friends did not give genuine support — according to the majority of the couples. Pregnant women and other people's children often evoked negative feelings. Social isolation often developed among the infertile women and their partners. In most cases, the crisis of infertility was found to be prolonged, especially among the women. The study indicates that in order to cope with the crisis of infertility, couples require supportive counseling in parallel to the investigation and medical treatment. This counseling should be designed both for the couple as an entity and for the partners separately.

Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/01674828609016758?prevSearch=allfield%253A%2528lalos%2529&searchHistoryKey=

National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-46965 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-16 Created: 2011-09-16 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. The wish to have a child: a pilot-study of infertile couples
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The wish to have a child: a pilot-study of infertile couples
1985 (English)In: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-690X, E-ISSN 1600-0447, Vol. 72, no 5, 476-481 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

All women (n = 30) who were to undergo microsurgical treatment for tubal infertility, and their partners (n = 29), were subject to individual interviews just before and 2 years after the tubal surgery. Initially, they answered an open question concerning their wish to have a child and then were asked to choose from a list of 36 alternatives, a maximum of five motives for having a child. The infertile couples' motives were compared with those of three reference groups: one group of 30 who had decided to continue their pregnancy, another group of 101 women who also planned to continue pregnancy and a third group of 459 women applying for legal abortion. All motives on the list were categorized as "philosophical", "social/cultural", "interpersonal" and "intrapsychic" motives. The interpersonal and intrapsychic motives dominated both the infertile women and their partners. A central motive was that a child is an ultimate expression of love between a man and a woman. The motives of the infertile couples, generally, did not differ from those of the reference groups.

National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-41761 (URN)4091031 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2011-04-01 Created: 2011-04-01 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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