SOCIAL SUPPORT AND INFERTILITY STRESS: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DIFFERENT SOURCES OF SUPPORT
Keywords:family, friends, infertility, partner, social support
The results of previous studies indicate the importance of social support for an individual's quality of life. Social support stands out as one of the most important protective factors in the process of coping with numerous life crises and infertility is one of them. In order to examine the significance of the social support received by friends, family and significant other in the perception of infertility stress, 312 infertile women, aged 21 to 48, were asked to complete the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support and the Fertility Problem Inventory. Respondents rate the social support they receive from their loved ones very high for every source of support, with the highest score for support from a significant person, then family and friends. Significant differences were found between women from different groups / lengh of facing with the problem in the perception of support by family and friends, but not by partners. Regardless of results that show the highest support from a partner, regression analysis showed that the explanation of perceived infertility stress variance was significantly determined by support from friends and family, whereas support from a significant person did not prove to be a significant predictor, except in the domain of relationship stress. The findings highlight the importance of educating the general population about the problem of infertility and about ways how to support these couples, as well as working with individuals and couples who are facing infertility to develop adaptive strategies for seeking support from their close ones.
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