To assess the relationship between infertility, marital benefit, and coping in a sample of men and women undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments.
Prospective longitudinal cohort design using multilevel modeling.
Danish public and private hospitals (n = 5) specializing in treating fertility patients.
Participants were Danish men and women about to start a cycle of medically assisted reproduction treatment who were followed for a 5-year period of unsuccessful treatments.
The Copenhagen Multicenter Psychosocial Infertility research program Coping Strategy Scales and Marital Benefit Measure.
Compared with men, a greater percentage of women reported high levels of marital benefit. For active-avoidance coping, there was a significant partner effect by gender interaction. Meaning-based strategies increased between 1 and 5 years for men and women. The use of meaning-based coping had a significant positive actor effect with marital benefit for both men and women.
Approximately one-third of participants undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments reported high marital benefit as a positive consequence of the infertility experience. Partner effects for men and women related to active-avoidance coping may be related to the degree of emotional support that each spouse can offer the other, whereas differences in meaning-based coping indicate a possible timing effect related to gender.