Recovery after unsuccessful in vitro fertilization: the complex role of resilience and marital relationships

Julijana Chochovski, Simon Moss, Denise P Charman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The failure rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is around 75% per cycle. These unsuccessful attempts can provoke acute clinical depression and other problems. Although practitioners often recommend cognitive reappraisal, rather than avoidance, to cope with these difficulties, previous research has not established the psychosocial determinants of adaptive coping strategies. Arguably, resilience could encourage cognitive reappraisal, because resilient individuals feel confident they can overcome their emotions, whereas marital quality could prevent avoidance, because individuals feel secure enough to reflect upon their distress. Consequently, resilience and marital quality could facilitate recovery over time. To explore these possibilities, 184 women, all of whom had unsuccessfully completed IVF treatment, completed a questionnaire that gauged their levels of self-reported depression since their last IVF attempt as well as resilience and marital quality. Immediately after the unsuccessful attempt, resilience was inversely, whereas marital quality was positively, related to depression. However, within this cross-sectional sample after greater time had elapsed, marital quality became increasingly beneficial and was negatively associated with depression. These findings imply that resilience can curb the initial distress; in contrast, marital quality may enable individuals to reflect upon their trauma, initially amplifying distress but eventually facilitating recovery. Future research would benefit from longitudinal studies, illustrating whether resilience and marital quality at one time predict changes in distress at subsequent times.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)122-128
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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