Examining congruence between partners' perceived infertility-related stress and its relationship to marital adjustment and depression in infertile couples

Because studies examining the emotional impact of infertility-related stress generally focus on individuals, there has been little research examining how relationship and individual variables are linked. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of congruence (e.g., agreement) between part...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Family process, Vol. 42, No. 1 (2003), p. 59-70
Main Author: Peterson, Brennan D
Other Involved Persons: Newton, Christopher R ; Rosen, Karen H
Format: Article
Language:English
ISSN:1545-5300
Item Description:Date Completed 10.11.2003
Date Revised 22.09.2019
published: Print
Citation Status MEDLINE
Copyright: From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine
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  • Because studies examining the emotional impact of infertility-related stress generally focus on individuals, there has been little research examining how relationship and individual variables are linked. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of congruence (e.g., agreement) between partner's perceived infertility-related stress and its effects on depression and marital adjustment in infertile men and women. Couples referred for infertility treatments at a University-affiliated teaching hospital completed the Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) 3 months prior to their first treatment cycle. Study findings show that men and women in couples who perceived equal levels of social infertility stress reported higher levels of marital adjustment when compared to men and women in couples who perceived the stress differently. In addition, women in couples who felt a similar need for parenthood reported significantly higher levels of marital satisfaction when compared to women in couples where the males reported a greater need for parenthood. While couple incongruence was unrelated to depression in males, incongruence over relationship concerns and the need for parenthood was related to female depression. These findings provide initial support for the theory that high levels of agreement between partners related to the stresses they experience help them successfully manage the impact of these stressful life events. Possibilities for future research examining the construct of couple congruence are discussed