Investigating the role of defense mechanisms on marital adjustment in infertile couples based on the cause of infertility: A cross-sectional study


Background: Infertility affects individual’s and couples’ adjustment. The defense mechanism and marital adjustment are mental processes that play a key role in infertile couples’ life.

Objective: This study aims to investigate the role of defense mechanisms on marital adjustment in infertile couples based on the cause of infertility.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 400 infertile couples at Royan Institute (A referral center for infertility, Tehran, Iran). Infertile couples were divided into 4 groups based on the cause of infertility (female, male, both, and unknown). Demographic questionnaire, revised dyadic adjustment scale, and defense styles questionnaire were used for data collection.

Results: Results showed that the mean score of marital adjustment of men based on the cause of infertility (female, male, and both) was significantly higher in comparison with their wives (p = 0.04, p ≤ 0.001, p ≤ 0.001, respectively). However, no difference was observed between the mean score of women, men, and couples (women and husbands) in defense mechanisms. But marital adjustment has a significant positive correlation with mature defense mechanisms and a negative correlation with immature ones (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The mean score of marital adjustment is higher in men than in their wives in all groups. So, counseling infertile couples in the field of marital adjustment and training in the use of mature defense mechanisms is recommended especially in women.

Key words: Defense mechanism, Marital relationship, Infertility.

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