What have you got to be positive about? Ways to cope with stress

Research output: Other contribution


It will come as no surprise to you that research shows it is upsetting and stressful to have difficulty conceiving, and that fertility treatment and the outcomes of treatment can be demanding too. In one study, 42% of infertile men and women were as anxious as people with an anxiety disorder, and 12% were as depressed as people with clinical depression.1 In another, 17% of women met the criteria for clinical depression after their IVF treatment failed.2 In terms of other psychological effects of infertility, couples have said that they felt they had little control over their infertility and little faith that treatment would work. Beyond stating the obvious – there is a link between infertility and stress – I shall turn my attention to the ways in which you might deal with such stress and distress.

There are many, many different ways of coping! The different types of coping mechanism have been given technical names by psychologists, although the ways in which they work will be familiar to you. One way of coping is called emotion-focused coping, which involves trying to make yourself feel better during a difficult experience, like infertility, by relieving your negative emotions. Problem-focused coping involves trying to take some kind of action to solve the problem that is making you unhappy. Cognitive coping deals with the different ways you can perceive a difficult and stressful experience, and Positive Reappraisal is a technique for focusing on positive aspects.
Original languageEnglish
TypeMagazine article
Place of PublicationCanada
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • infertility
  • coping
  • positive reappraisal


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