Mental health and coping with fertility treatment cessation during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Article


Payne, N. and van den Akker, O. 2022. Mental health and coping with fertility treatment cessation during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology. https://doi.org/10.1080/0167482X.2022.2097475
TypeArticle
TitleMental health and coping with fertility treatment cessation during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK
AuthorsPayne, N. and van den Akker, O.
Abstract

Purpose
This study examined experiences during the cessation of fertility treatment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including levels of mental health, coping strategies used to manage uncertainty about treatment due to the pandemic, sources of support, and predictors of mental health.
Methods
One hundred and seventy-five participants in the UK completed an online survey.
Results
Half of the participants experienced clinical levels of anxiety and/or depression, and 20% reported suicidal feelings as a result of the uncertainty about treatment due to the pandemic. Support from friends, family and online forums were reported by more than half of participants, but support from fertility clinics or counsellors were reported by less than one quarter. The strategy used most frequently to cope with the uncertainty about treatment due to the pandemic was self-distraction, and this predicted reduced depression. However, self-blame, behavioral disengagement and venting predicted increased depression and self-blame, behavioral disengagement, and denial predicted increased anxiety.
Conclusions
Fertility clinic communication and psychological support, such as counselling, which had substantially reduced during treatment cessation, could include some focus on personal coping, including what to avoid. Psychological support is likely to be more important now than ever. Despite resumption of treatment, the impacts of the period of cessation and of COVID-19 are likely to continue to reverberate.

Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
Research GroupApplied Health Psychology group
LanguageEnglish
PublisherInforma
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
ISSN0167-482X
Electronic1743-8942
Publication dates
Online14 Jul 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Jul 2022
Submitted18 Jan 2022
Accepted29 Jun 2022
Publisher's version
License
Copyright Statement

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0167482X.2022.2097475
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