Development of a partnership causal model for couples undergoing fertility treatment

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Aim:The goals of this study were to develop a partnership causal model and verify the model's fitness for couples undergoing fertility treatment.Methods:A purposive sample of 1004 consenting participants (502 couples) undergoing fertility treatment was selected from five fertility clinics across Japan. A mailed self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. The partnership causal model was examined with structural equation modeling.Results:A total of 565 questionnaires were returned (56.3%) and the number of valid responses was 466 (46.4%). The factor “medical professionals' support (nurses and physicians)” influenced the couples' “partnership” (β = 0.16) and had a direct effect on the men's quality of life (QOL) and an indirect effect on the women's QOL (β = 0.20). Couples' partnership had a significant impact on couples' QOL (β = 0.20) and on “satisfaction in their relationship with their partner” (β = 0.48). The multi-population path analysis revealed that married couples influenced each other's perceptions of their partnership (men, β = 0.84; women, β = 0.88). Additionally, the spouse's partnership influenced both individual's QOL (men, β = 0.77; women, β = 0.77) and the satisfaction with the relationship (men, β = 0.46; women, β = 0.59). The participants' “distress” significantly and negatively affected the participants' QOL.Conclusion:The results revealed that for a couple undergoing fertility treatments, a strong partnership maintains their QOL, and this could decrease the couples' distress (particularly in women). Partnership was also related to the variability of “medical professionals' support”.

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