Paper Information

Journal:   INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FERTILITY AND STERILITY   SUMMER 2011 , Volume 5 , Number SUPPLEMENT 1; Page(s) 37 To 37.
 
Paper: 

EPIDEMIOLOGY AND ETHICS: EXPANDING THE DIALOGUE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO INFERTILITY DISTRESS

 
 
Author(s):  LATIFNEJAD ROUDSARI R.*, ALLAN H.T., SMITH P.A.
 
* DEPARTMENT OF MIDWIFERY, MASHHAD UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES, MASHHAD, IRAN
 
Abstract: 

Background: The impact of religion on psychological adjustment of infertile women has not received adequate attention in the literature. Few studies which have been conducted in this area, have shown that some infertile women with strong religious beliefs may achieve relief and comfort through prayer and viewing infertility as part of a divine plan, whereas others may interpret infertility as punishment from a higher power for previous sins. This study using a naturalistic inquiry explored how religious orientations informed Muslim and Christian women’s reappraisal of infertility distress.
Materials and Methods: In a grounded theory study 30 infertile women affiliated to different denominations of Christianity (Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy) and Islam (Shiite and Sunni) were interviewed. Volunteer participants were purposively recruited in one Iranian and two UK fertility clinics and the sample size was determined by theoretical sampling and data saturation. Data were collected through semi structured in-depth interviews and analyzed using Strauss and Corbin’s mode of grounded theory.
Results: The emergent categories included religious reappraisal of the meaning and causation of infertility, demonstrating faith-based positive emotions and adopting religious/ spiritual coping strategies which were encompassed in the core category of relying on a higher being. Religious infertile women presented a positive and beneficent image of God and believed in the spiritual or spiritual-medical causation of infertility. They represented positive emotions like optimism, feeling of peace and self-confidence which helped them to handle the emotional burden of infertility peacefully. They mainly adopted religious/ spiritual coping strategies, which arose from their religious teachings and divine outlook to life. These strategies consisted of a combination of positive and negative religious coping strategies, although positive strategies were used with more variety and frequency.
Conclusion: Religious participants having a particular worldview gave sacred meaning to life and talked about an internal knowing, certainty and assurance that they would be blessed by God, either through being granted a child or in other ways. This worldview resulted in optimism and positive thinking which consequently helped them to get the psychological fitness and being able to manage infertility distress.

 
Keyword(s): INFERTILITY, RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSE, DISTRESS
 
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