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

Payne, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: and van den Akker, Olga ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Mental health and coping with fertility treatment cessation during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology . ISSN 0167-482X [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1080/0167482X.2022.2097475)

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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.
One hundred and seventy-five participants in the UK completed an online survey.
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.
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.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
Item ID: 35412
Notes on copyright: © 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 (, 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.
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Depositing User: Nicola Payne
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2022 14:59
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2022 14:59

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