Date of Conferral
Arcella J. Trimble
The number of women diagnosed as infertile continues to grow every year. The psychological impact of the infertility experience has been said to create distress equivalent to that associated with life-threatening illnesses and has been linked with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using shattered assumption and stress-buffering theory, this quantitative causal comparative study explored the potential functional relationship between infertility and PTSD. The majority of the (all-female) participants were 24- to 34-year-old college graduates. A 2 X 3 factorial between-subjects ANOVA examined and compared the cause and effect of the independent variables, fertility treatment and psychological intervention, on the dependent variable, PTSD. A multiple linear regression was conducted to understand PTSD symptomology scores. The results revealed that the type of infertility treatment does not impact PTSD symptomatology in medically diagnosed women. However, the main effect of psychological treatment was significant, as was infertility treatment by psychological treatment interaction. Additionally, the impact of fertility problems on the participant's physical health was the highest ranking predictor, which suggests that stress levels in women receiving infertility treatment are equivalent to those in women with cancer, AIDS, and heart disease, as suggested by other researchers. This study has implications for positive social change, in that it may promote better understanding of the psychological impact of infertility and decreased PTSD symptomatology for medically diagnosed infertile women. It opens the door for future research about the effectiveness of psychological intervention, and provides awareness of possible PTSD susceptibility.