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Men and women use a variety of coping strategies to manage stress associated with infertility. While previous research has helped us understand these coping processes, questions remain about gender differences in coping and the nature of the relationship between coping and specific types of infertility stress. Methods: This study examined the coping behaviors of 1,026 (520 women, 506 men) consecutively referred patients at a Universityaffiliated teaching hospital. Participants completed the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, Fertility Problem Inventory, and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Results: Women used proportionately greater amounts of confrontive coping, accepting responsibility, seeking social support, and escape/avoidance when compared to men, while men used proportionately greater amounts of distancing, self-controlling, and planful problem-solving. For men and women, infertility stress was positively related to escape/avoidance and accepting responsibility, and negatively related to seeking social support, planful problem-solving, and distancing. Conclusions: By analyzing relative coping scores, this study identified key gender differences in how men and women cope with infertility. This was particularly true for men’s coping processes that had previously remained hidden because of less frequent use of coping strategies when compared to women.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Human Reproduction following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI:10.1093/humrep/del145.


Oxford University Press



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