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Arch Hellen Med, 33(4), July-August 2016, 645-655


Attachment in close relationships, infertility-related stress, and quality of life in infertile women

E. Theodoridou,1 F. Anagnostopoulos,1,2 A. Sachlas,3 D. Niakas1
1Faculty of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, Patras,
2Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens,
3Department of Nursing, University of the Peloponnese, Sparta, Greece

OBJECTIVE To investigate, through attachment theory, the role of close interpersonal relationships in infertility-related stress and the quality of life (QoL) in infertile women.

METHOD The sample consisted of 82 infertile women who were undergoing in vitro fertilization in the assisted reproduction unit of a private maternity hospital in Athens. The data were collected using a set of self-administered questionnaires which included demographic and medical information, the Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI) and the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R) and the Fertility Quality of Life (FertiQoL) questionnaires.

RESULTS The infertility-related stress levels experienced by the infertile women in the sample were mostly moderate and showed significant negative correlation with their QoL. Anxious attachment was associated positively with total and specific infertility-related stress and negatively with QoL, while avoidant attachment was associated positively with the infertility-related stress subscale "relationship concern" and negatively with the subscale "rejection of childfree lifestyle". Regarding fertility QoL, avoidant attachment was negatively correlated with the "relational" subscale.

CONCLUSIONS The findings of this study highlight the need for implementing interventions to improve fertility-related QoL and reduce the impact of risk factors on fertility-related stress, such as in the case of anxiously attached infertile women.

Key words: Attachment theory, Fertility quality of life, Infertility, Infertility-related stress, In vitro fertilization (IVF).

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