National Research Tomsk State University,
Background. Psychological tension in the family, along with stress and mental and physical illness, are linked to the reproductive health of parents, as well as to the outcomes of infertility treatments and pregnancy overall.
Objective. To compare stress and negative affect (depression, irritability, and anxiety) in families with induced pregnancies (in-vitro fertilization, IFV) vs. natural pregnancies. The relationship between negative affect and stress in pregnant women was explored in both groups. Finally, the study investigated links between negative affect and partner relationships.
Design. The sample included 308 women and 278 men from couples with natural conception, and 131 women and 102 men from couples with an IVF pregnancy.
Results. Relatively low levels of negative affective states and stress were found in families with both natural and induced pregnancies. Moderate correlations were found between women’s negative affect and their stress level in both groups. Significant correlations were found in both groups between negative psychological states of the spouses, as well as between negative psychological states and warmth/hostility in marital relations.
Conclusion. The results suggest that psychological states, stress levels, and links between psychological states and quality of family relations are similar in families with IVF and those with natural pregnancies. Further longitudinal research is needed to explore the direction of causal links between the psychological states of the spouses, and between their psychological states and the quality of family relations.
Keywords: pregnancy, IVF, infertility, family relationships, stress, psychological states