Randomised trial of a positive reappraisal coping intervention in fertility treatment

Deborah Lancastle, Jacky Boivin, Agnes van den Hoogen, Marinus Eijkemans

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Objective: Waiting for medical test results is pervasive in health contexts and stressful.The transactional theory of stress and coping proposes that ‘reframing in a positive light’ (positive reappraisal coping, PA) is a beneficial coping strategy in uncontrollable and unpredictable contexts like waiting. This study evaluated the effects of the Positive Reappraisal Coping Intervention (PRCI) on appraisal and coping in women awaiting the outcome of fertility treatment. PRCI comprises an explanatory leaflet, and ten statements promoting PA, that users are instructed to read at least twice a day during waiting.
Design: Three armed randomised controlled trial (NCT01701011). All patients attending for treatment were invited.
Method: Women were randomly assigned to groups. The PRCI-monitoring (PRCI-M,n=127) group completed the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WOCQ) pre and post treatment (4 weeks after results), used the PRCI intervention daily and monitored daily during waiting seven coping strategies and five appraisals using the Daily Record Keeping form (validated in fertility context). The Monitoring-Control (n=126) group completed the WOCQ, and monitored daily using the DRK. The Routine Care-Control (n=126) group completed the WOCQ. Multilevel modelling evaluated PRCI effects.
Results: Significant linear time effects showed increasing appraisals of threat, uncontrollability and inability to cope as the pregnancy test approached combined with decreasing coping effort. The PRCI-M group showed significantly more challenge appraisals and a less steep decrease in coping effort (positive reappraisal, acceptance, relaxing)compared to controls.
Conclusion: PRCI stimulated a more positive outlook and sustained coping in patients waiting for potentially threatening medical test results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2017


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