A preliminary study of the psychological differences in infertile couples and their relation to the coping styles

Ramli Musa*, Roszaman Ramli, Abdul Wahab Azantee Yazmie, Mohd Bustaman Siti Khadijah, Mohd Yatim Hayati, Marhani Midin, Nik Ruzyanei Nik Jaafar, Srijit Das, Hatta Sidi, Arun Ravindran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background Studies from Western countries have observed that couples undergoing infertility treatment suffer various physical and psychological difficulties at a higher frequency than the comparable general population. These relate to treatment challenges and other psychosocial stressors, often influenced by coping style, personality factors and available support systems. There is paucity of studies in non-Western populations. Objective The aim of this pilot investigation was to evaluate characteristics and gender differences in perceived psychological difficulties reported by infertile Malaysian couples. In particular, depression, anxiety and stress, along with correlated coping styles, were examined between spouses. Methods Demographic information, including age, ethnicity and duration and causes of infertility, were collected from participants treated within a fertility clinic. The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) and Coping Inventory for Stressful Situation (CISS) were completed to measure psychological distress and coping styles. Results Depression, anxiety and stress-related difficulties were reported at significantly higher frequency by wives than husbands (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in coping styles between wives and husbands. However, emotional-oriented coping style was associated with significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress (p < 0.05) within the overall sample with odds ratios of 2.5, 3.0 and 1.5, respectively. Conclusion The study confirms that, as with Western subjects, Malaysian infertile couples demonstrate the vulnerability to psychological distress that occurs more frequently among wives than husbands. As anticipated, emotional coping style was associated with greater distress in both genders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S65-S69
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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