Comparison of multiple psychological distress measures between men and women preparing for in vitro fertilization

Fertil Steril. 2011 Feb;95(2):717-21. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.09.043. Epub 2010 Nov 10.


Objective: To compare multiple measures of psychological distress between men and women preparing for IVF.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Outpatient, academic infertility clinic.

Patient(s): One hundred sixty-two consecutive couples presenting for infertility treatment with IVF.

Intervention(s): Measures were completed as part of a routine, infertility-focused psychological evaluation, including the Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, State-Trait Anger Inventory, and Impact of Events Scale.

Main outcome measure(s): Scores of above psychological questionnaires.

Result(s): Psychological distress scores were statistically significantly higher among women than men for symptoms of depression, state anxiety, infertility specific distress, and general perceived stress. However, aside from infertility-specific distress (d = .43), effect sizes for the paired differences between females and males ranged from d = .18 to .23.

Conclusion(s): Women consistently scored higher on multiple measures of psychological distress than their male partners in the context of preparing for IVF. Comparison of infertility-specific distress scores yielded the largest statistically and clinically significant difference compared with traditional measures of general depression and anxiety symptoms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infertility / complications
  • Infertility / psychology
  • Infertility / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Research Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Young Adult