Psychological adjustment of infertile women entering IVF treatment: Differentiating aspects and influencing factors

Franco Bringhenti, Franca Martinelli, Rossella Ardenti, Giovanni Battista La Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To evaluate the psychological adjustment of infertile women compared with a control group of mothers and to determine which personal or marital factors influence the amount of emotional disorders in the infertile group. Design. Cross-sectional questionnaire study with a group of infertile women and a group of mothers attending a routine gynecological examination. Setting. Infertile women and mothers received the questionnaires after a psychological or medical examination respectively, at a Sterility Center in a Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Participants. One hundred and twenty-two infertile women, entering an IVF program, and 57 mothers attending a routine care visit. Main outcome measures. Stressful events, self-esteem, job and marital satisfaction, care and control measures of intimate bond, state-trait anxiety, depression, psychophysiological symptoms and global emotional factor scores. Results. The organic infertile group was higher than mothers on satisfaction with their relationship with their husbands, perception of care and state-anxiety. The emotional factor scores of infertile women, controlled for stressful events, were influenced by a) number of IVF-cycles and availability for adoption, b) job position, job satisfaction and self-esteem, c) personality dimensions. State and trait anxiety scores were influenced by the level of global marital satisfaction. Conclusions. Infertile women, entering an IVF treatment program, do not necessarily show signs of psychological maladjustment. Their level of state-anxiety can be considered a situational response to the treatment stress. The infertility condition and its treatment can be effectively dealt with by women having a good personality disposition, a high level of self-esteem, who are satisfied with their job and relationship with their husband, and who are willing to adopt a child as a last solution for their maternal need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-437
Number of pages7
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Active coping
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Infertility stress condition
  • Influencing factors
  • Psychological adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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