Are there preferred coping and communication strategies while undergoing IVF, and do cognitive behavioral interventions help?

Johanna Czamanski-Cohen, Orly Sarid, Julie Cwikel, Eliahu Levitas, Iris Har-Vardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Coping and communication strategies affect how one perceives potentially stressful life events, such as infertility. Cognitive behavioral interventions (CBI) can reduce the distress related to undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of CBI on the coping and communication skills as well as perceived stress and depressive symptoms of women undergoing IVF treatment. The authors also explored the relationship between coping strategies and pregnancy rates. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial of CBI in 50 women undergoing IVF (NCT00685282). Findings: The authors found that CBI was associated with reductions in active-confrontive coping among over 50 percent of participants, which was also found to be positively related to depressive symptoms. Furthermore, high meaning-based coping at baseline and high-avoidant coping at the end of IVF treatment were associated with increased pregnancy rates. Research limitations/implications: CBI can be helpful in reducing the perceived stress of women undergoing IVF; however, the adaptiveness of individual coping skills and communication skills vary. Since different coping strategies seem to be of benefit at different time points, further studies might benefit from the examination of engaging in context-dependent coping strategies. Practical implications: Integrating mental health care on infertility units may assist in reducing the stress and thus quality of care in women undergoing IVF. Mental health care can be tailored to meet the individual needs of infertility patients based on their preferred coping strategies and communication style. Further research is needed to examine the cost benefit of reducing perceived stress in fertility patients. Social implications: Infertility is a social and medical problem that has vast implications on the mental health of individuals. Providing support along with practical tools for stress reduction and improved coping and communication can result in reduced stress and improved coping. Originality/value: This paper examined the effect of a cognitive behavioral intervention on the coping strategies and communication skills of women undergoing IVF and can contribute to our understanding of the value of integrating mental health and medical care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-32
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Johanna Czamanski-Cohen, Orly Sarid, Julie Cwikel, Eliahu Levitas and Iris Har-Vardi.


  • Cognitive behavioural interventions
  • Coping
  • Infertility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Education
  • Health Policy
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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