Well-being in couples undergoing infertility treatment: the impact of support exchange


  • A. Kroemeke


Background: The study investigated the effects of support receipt, provision, invisibility (the discrepancy between one partner’s received and the other partner’s provided support), and equity (the discrepancy between each partner’s received and provided support) on the positive (life purpose) and the negative (depressive symptoms) indices of well-being in couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment. Methods: Depressive symptoms (CES-D), life purpose (PIL), and social support (BSSS) were assessed among 31 married couples (aged: 27–38 years) undergoing ART. Data were analyzed by applying the Actor-Partner-Interdependence Model using multilevel modeling. Findings: Support receipt, and provision had beneficial effects. Gender-moderated effects were found. Women reported higher depression and lower life purpose but benefited more from support, and their well-being was more dependent on their own perception of support provision and receipt. The men have demonstrated higher adjustment to infertility but benefited less from support, and their well-being was mostly correlated with the supportive behaviors of their wives. Discussion: Adjustment mechanisms of females and males vary considerably, being notably more direct in the former and more indirect in the latter, which ought to be taken into consideration in the practical approach and further research on mediators and moderators of the investigated relations. Future studies should also focus on the costs/benefits of visible and invisible support in infertility settings and gender differences in the invisible support.





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