Predictors of psychological health in couples diagnosed with Male infertility: A dyadic approach

Maria Francesca Cattaneo Della Volta, Federica Vallone, Maria Clelia Zurlo


Background: Research underlined that infertile men may experience sense of guilt and failure, loss of self-esteem, high psychosocial and marital stress, and psychological suffering, but little attention was given to individual and dyadic dynamics featuring both partners diagnosed with male infertility.

Objective: The study aimed to apply the Actor-Partner-Interdependence Model (APIM) to investigate actor and partner effects of infertility-related stressors (Social Concern, Need for Parenthood, Rejection of Childfree Lifestyle, Couple’s Relationship Concern), coping strategies (Social Support, Avoiding, Positive Attitude, Problem-Solving, Turning to Religion) and dyadic adjustment dimensions (Consensus, Satisfaction, Cohesion, Affectional Expression) on perceived levels of state-anxiety and depression among both members of couples diagnosed with male infertility.

Method: Both members of 80 couples with male infertility diagnosis completed self-administered questionnaires.

Results: Perception of Social and Couple’s Relationship Concerns and adoption of Avoiding and Turning to Religion coping emerged as risk factors for both partners. Adoption of Social Support and Problem-Solving coping and partners’ perception of Rejection of Childfree Lifestyle emerged as risk factors, while the perception of dyadic adjustment and partners’ adoption of Social Support coping, emerged as protective factors for men's psychological health. Perception of Need for Parenthood and partners’ perception of Rejection of Childfree Lifestyle emerged as risk factors, while the perception of Cohesion, and partners’ perception of Social and Couple’s Relationship Concerns and adoption of Positive Attitude coping, emerged as protective factors for women's psychological health.

Conclusions: The study suggested specific individual and dyadic dynamics to be addressed for developing tailored interventions to promote psychological health in couples diagnosed with male infertility. 


Male infertility; Infertility-related stress; Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM); State-Anxiety; Depression.

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