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Emotions and Emotion Regulation in a Female Couple Undergoing in Vitro Fertilization Treatment

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Author(s): Tracey J. Devonport | Andrew M. Lane

Journal: Psychology
ISSN 2152-7180

Volume: 04;
Issue: 06;
Start page: 25;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Emotion Regulation | Emotion | In Vitro Fertilization | Coping | Stress

ABSTRACT
Research indicates that women undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) experience intense unwanted emotions, and that these emotions may result in the decision to abandon treatment. This case-study explored stressors, emotional responses and emotion regulation strategies of a female couple undergoing IVF procedures over a ten-week period. A mixed-method approach involved participants completing a daily open-ended diary and self-report scales to assess emotions and emotion regulation in relation to partner and self. Diary results indicated both partners experienced frequent stressors resulting from the IVF process, stressors that were intensified by perceptual and financial factors. Participants experienced a range of intense pleasant (e.g., happy, excited) and unpleasant emotions (e.g., depressed, anxious), and sought to down-regulate unpleasant emotions using a range of cognitive, behavioral, and social strategies. Questionnaire data indicated complementary styles of emotion regulation that appeared to help sustain pleasant emotions and down-regulate unpleasant emotions. Future research should test the effectiveness of interventions to help manage unwanted emotional responses to IVF treatment and corresponding regulatory efforts.

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