Occupational social class, coping responses and infertility-related stress of women undergoing infertility treatment

By Katerina Lykeridou, Kleanthi Gourounti, Antigoni Sarantaki, Dimitrios Loutradis, Grigorios Vaslamatzis and Anna Deltsidou


(I have bolded certain passages.)

  • Infertile women of the lowest social class used more active-confronting coping and more passive-avoidance coping than women of the highest social class. Factors such as low social class and maladaptive coping strategies might contribute to infertility-related stress and anxiety.
  • Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses and midwives who work in infertility clinics should aim to identify individuals who are at high risk for infertility stress and adjustment difficulties and they should minimise the identified risk factors for infertility-related stress and strengthen the protective factors.
  • We anticipated that individuals of higher social classes would use a more extensive coping range and that they would adopt more active problem-solving coping approaches. According to Poetz et al. (2007), low social class is positively related to maladaptive coping strategies through multiple variables, such as low educational level and low income.
  • Active- avoidance (e.g. avoid being with pregnant women or children) and passive-avoidance (e.g. making wishes, having fantasies and waiting for a miracle). Women of lower social classes demonstrated significantly higher levels of passive- avoidance coping strategies than individuals of higher social classes.
  •  A positive correlation between all the types of stress (personal, marital and social) and the active-avoidance coping strategy was found. In addition, the state and trait anxiety of infertile women was positively associated with active-avoidance. Our findings are in line with findings of previous studies (Schmidt et al. 2005a, Peterson et al. 2006, 2008) and can be explained by the fact that individuals with high stress levels seek any way possible to relieve stress and its consequences, even using a maladaptive coping strategy (e.g. keep away themselves from coexistence with people having children) (Roohafza et al. 2009).
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