Levels and associations among self-esteem, fertility distress, coping, and reaction to potentially being a genetic carrier in women with diminished ovarian reserve

Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York.
Fertility and sterility (Impact Factor: 4.59). 03/2013; 99(7). DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.02.033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To measure the level of distress and its relationship with other psychologic factors in women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) who participated in a fragile X genetics study. DESIGN: Longitudinal data analyzed with structural equation modeling. SETTING: Four U.S. private and academic fertility centers. PATIENT(S): Sixty-two infertile patients with DOR. INTERVENTION(S): None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Fertility Problem Inventory, Coping Scale for Infertile Couples, Rosenberg Self-Esteem, Health Orientation Scale. RESULT(S): Nineteen percent had low fertility distress, 56% had average fertility distress, and 24% had high fertility distress. Thirty-six percent self-reported a "favorable" or "very favorable" emotional response to potentially being a fragile X carrier (termed "emotions"), 53% were "ambivalent," and 11% had an unfavorable reaction. Three months after learning that they were not a carrier, these percentages were 91%, 9%, and 0%, respectively. Emotions at this second time point were significantly more positive than at pretesting. At baseline, higher self-esteem was a significant predictor of reduced fertility distress both directly and indirectly through emotions. Fertility distress was not associated with coping. Self-esteem, fertility distress, pretesting emotions, and coping were unrelated to posttesting emotions. CONCLUSION(S): The potential of having an explanation for one's DOR condition may have a beneficial impact on women's psychologic states during the process of genetic testing, and this appeared to be especially true for women with higher self-esteem. Psychologic interventions targeted to women with low self-esteem may reduce distress and improve reactions to genetic testing.

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    ABSTRACT: Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) and premature ovarian failure are associated with elevated FMR1 CGG repeat alleles. We assessed pretest attitudes about potentially carrying the FMR1 premutation (FXP) (>55 CGG repeats) among reproductive age women compared with attitudes after learning their non-carrier status. Ninety-two women with DOR, regular menses and no family history of Fragile X Syndrome underwent FMR1 testing and completed attitudinal questionnaires before (T1) and 3 months after learning the test results (T2). The analysis utilized signed rank tests and Ī± = 0.05. Very few women thought they were likely to have a FXP (6.6 %). More participants thought FMR1 premutations were "serious" at T2 (62.9 %) than at T1 (46.1 %, p < 0.0003). When asked at T1 to "describe your feelings when you consider that you are potentially a carrier" of a FXP, 10 % had negative feelings, 50 % felt ambivalent, and 40 % had positive feelings. At T2, feelings about not being a carrier were significantly more favorable (p < 0.0001): negative (0 %), ambivalent (6.5 %), positive (93 %). Corroborating prior reports, few women had a negative view of FXP, perhaps anticipating that carrying the FXP explains their infertility. Perception of the seriousness of FXP increased after learning they did not carry the FXP, which would be predicted by health belief models.
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