ISSN 2079-6617
eISSN 2309-9828
Perception of reproductive difficulties in women with different coping orientations

Perception of reproductive difficulties in women with different coping orientations

PDF (Rus)

Recieved: 11/29/2022

Accepted: 04/14/2023

Published: 06/16/2023

Keywords: reproductive difficulties; infertility; life task; perception of a situation; coping strategies; approach coping; avoidance coping; subjective appraisal; psychological assistance

p.: 46–65

DOI: 10.11621/npj.2023.0204

Available online: 16.06.2023

To cite this article:

Bityutskaya, E.V., Elena V. Vorontsova. Perception of reproductive difficulties in women with different coping orientations. // National Psychological Journal 2023. 2. p.46–65. doi: 10.11621/npj.2023.0204

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Issue 2, 2023

Bityutskaya, E.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Elena V. Vorontsova Lomonosov Moscow State University


Background. In modern scientific concept as well as in practical psychology, numerous data confirm that infertility causes severe worries and chronic stress in women. At the same time, there is a paucity of empirical evidence on how women with reproductive difficulties perceive this situation. 

Objective. The study aims to analyze types of reproductive difficulties perception in women with different coping orientations. 

Methods. Participants were 50 women (aged 25 to 44) from support groups arranged by the non-profit organization for women with reproductive issues “You Are Not Alone”. Based on the questionnaire “Types of Orientations in Difficult Situation”, participants were divided into three groups: approach to the goal of having a child (N = 17), avoidance of the problem (N = 5), ambivalent perception (N = 28). Content analysis was conducted based on stories about reproduction difficulties experiences. 

Results. Categories describing the perceived life situation associated with reproductive difficulties were identified: the content of the situation; problem-­oriented coping; avoidance coping; emotions; appraisals of the situation; goals; possibilities; restrictions; support from other people; worst-case scenario and best-case scenario. The features of reproductive difficulties perception for each type of coping orientation were analyzed. The levels of goals that allow to analyse coping and the extent of a woman’s approach to resolving the situation are described. These levels include 1) goals of stabilization (to make a certain decision, maintain the integrity of the body and psyche); 2) the goals of avoiding negative experiences; 3) the goals of approaching the achievement of the result; 4) the goals of overcoming the situation (birth of children or a harmonious life without them). 

Conclusion. Women seeking for psychological assistance in support groups perceive reproductive difficulties as a life situation of high difficulty, which in some cases is associated with the experience of perinatal losses, moral burden while undergoing medical procedures, and fear for their health and life. In terms of its structure, this situation contains two major tasks: motherhood (or, more rarely, rejection of it) and coping with negative emotions. Accordingly, coping strategies perform the following functions: approaching the goal, providing resistance to one’s own avoidance, and resistance to “social pressure”, overcoming emotional resistance. The presented levels of goals for women with reproductive difficulties allow us to describe the tasks of psychological assistance as well as to give brief recommendations.


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To cite this article:

Bityutskaya, E.V., Elena V. Vorontsova. Perception of reproductive difficulties in women with different coping orientations. // National Psychological Journal 2023. 2. p.46–65. doi: 10.11621/npj.2023.0204

Copied to Clipboard