Looking at Infertility Treatment through The Lens of The Meaning of Life: The Effect of Group Logotherapy on Psychological Distress in Infertile Women

Int J Fertil Steril. 2013 Jan;6(4):224-31. Epub 2013 Mar 3.


Background: Women in particular suffer from psychological stress when diagnosed with infertility. Psychosocial interventions are known to not only prevent and lessen various mental problems, but also to play a positive role in physical health and pregnancy rates. The aim of this study is to determine the unique impact of spiritual psychotherapy on concerns about infertility and their perceived psychological stresses.

Materials and methods: This study was a randomized clinical trial. The study population included nearly 800 infertile couples who attended the Maternity and Gynecology Clinic of Jahrom University of Medical Sciences, Jahrom, Iran. We enrolled65 people who were randomly divided into two groups, experimental (n=33)and control (n=32). The experimental group received spiritual group psychotherapy counseling for 12 sessions, 2 hours per week for a 3 months period. The control group did not receive any intervention, but due to ethical considerations, we gave a presentation (one session) about infertility treatment for this group after the research process was completed. We used two questionnaires to obtain data, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Data analysis was done by descriptive and analytic statistics using SPSS 16 software.

Results: Psychological intervention in the treatment group significantly decreased the PSWQ (p=0.004). There were significant differences in the mean score of the PSWQ in both groups as determined by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA; p=0.009). Psychological intervention in the treatment group decreased the level of perceived stress, when compared with the control group. According to ANCOVA there were significant differences between the mean PSS scores of both groups (p=0.01).

Conclusion: Logotherapy is related to stress reduction and can decrease psychiatric symptoms of worry and perceived stress. This approach tends to improve an infertile person's ability to deal with their problem of finding the meaning of life. Thus it can be concluded that logotherapy along with other treatment methods, is a useful approach for infertile couples (Registration Number:IRCT201108247407N2).

Keywords: Infertility; Mental Health; Psychological Distress; Spiritual Therapies.