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Possible Gender Differences in the Level of Perceived Social Support in Couples Who Are Experiencing Issues With Infertility

Objective
The purpose of this study is to examine whether there are gender differences in the level of perceived social support in couples experiencing issues with fertility.카지노사이트

Methods
A total of 938 participants aged 18-47 years, with self-reported issues of infertility, were evaluated using the

Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) which comprises three subscales which correspond

with distinct sources of social support: significant other (SO), family, and friends.

Differences between sexes for total score and for all subscale scores were subsequently analyzed using SPSS Statistics (IBM Corp, Armonk, USA).

Results
Mean total scores and scores on all subscales (SO, family, friend) were higher in women (5.13 ± 1.10, 5.90 ± 1.20, 4.53 ± 1.53, 4.97 ± 1.40, respectively)

compared with men (4.43 ± 1.58, 5.04 ± 1.90, 4.06 ± 1.76, 4.20 ± 1.81, respectively), a statistically significant difference of 0.70 (95% CI, -1.11 to -0.28),

t(63.018) = -3.360, p = .001), 0.86 (95% CI, -1.35 to -0.36), t(62.277) = -3.452, p = .001,

0.47 (95% CI, -0.94 to -0.01), t(65.219) = -2.039, p = 0.046, 0.76 (95% CI, -1.24 to -0.29), t(63.018) = -3.360, p = 0.002), respectively.

Males with male-factor infertility had a statistically significantly lower mean total score than males with female-factor infertility,

-2.22 (95% CI, -3.71 to -0.74), p= 0.005. For males and females with male-factor infertility, mean “total” score was

2.73 (95% CI, 1.43 to 4.03) points lower for males than females, F(1,22) = 18.89, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.462.

Conclusion
Perceived social support among individuals experiencing issues with fertility was higher in females

than in males across all subscales (SO, family, friends) with the biggest difference seen in SO score.

Total scores differed with respect to infertility diagnosis in males but not in females, and amongst males and females

with a male-factor infertility diagnosis, total scores were statistically significantly lower in males compared with females.

Given the implications of high levels of perceived social support on improved overall well-being, our findings underscore

the importance of implementing interventions that are focused on improving perceptions of social support

in males experiencing issues with infertility,

with specific consideration given to the unique experiences/ challenges and factors that may impact their experience.

Introduction
Infertility is a global health issue [1] that often poses a physical, psychological, sociocultural, emotional,

and financial burden on affected individuals [2].

Studies have shown that infertile couples experience significant anxiety and emotional distress, often describing

it as “the most upsetting experience in their lives,” classifying it as either stressful or extremely stressful [3],

with anxiety and depression being the most commonly reported mental health concerns [4].

Further, infertility is often seen as a silent struggle that is not openly discussed [5,6] due to associated feelings of shame,

low self-esteem, fear that others won’t understand how they feel, and stigma due to social and cultural norms and values [7,8].

This secrecy in effect exacerbates/ evokes feelings of loneliness and isolation as individuals withdraw from

sources of support, at a time when they paradoxically may need it the most [7].

In effect, this constellation of factors constitutes/creates significant challenges/obstacles for infertile

individuals to maintain high levels of perceived social support.

The role of social support as a buffer in the context of numerous life stressors is well known [9].

It is thus of no surprise that social support has a positive effect on individuals experiencing issues with fertility [10],

especially as a vulnerable population that is already at a higher risk of developing depression [5].

Specifically, studies suggest that higher perceptions of social support availability are associated

with lower levels of general and infertility distress in both men and women [10,11].

Perceived social support is best conceptualized as a person’s subjective appraisal of his or her situation,

rather than a true reflection of how much support is received [12].

In fact, perceived social support has been shown to be more predictive of health and more reliable in

buffering against the adverse effects of stressors on psychological and physical well-being [13].

In a study of individuals with depression, greater perceived social support in contrast to greater received

social support had a significantly larger relationship with lower depressive symptoms [12,14].

Moreover, perceived social support had a weak association with received support.

What is less understood is whether the perceptions of social support between the two sexes in the context

of infertility differ.

The literature on sex differences in the context of social support is mixed and inconsistent [13].

Given biomedical differences and differences in socialization processes and gender-role expectations [15],

it is reasonable to anticipate differences in how infertility may be perceived and experienced between men and women. For example,

male-factor infertility may be perceived as ‘inferior’ sperm quality and to some extent affect infertile males’ perceptions of their masculinity [16].

For females, on the other hand, an inability to bear children and fulfill that ‘biological capability’ may challenge their core female identity and evoke intense fears of being blamed for the inability to give birth to a child [6,17].

Perhaps borne from this perception that motherhood is an intrinsic component of female nature and function, studies suggest that women

were more likely to be labeled both by themselves and by others as responsible, regardless of which partner was actually infertile [17].

The purpose of this study is to examine whether there are differences in the level of perceived social support between sexes in the context of infertility.

While some studies have investigated gender differences within couples with male-factor infertility and/or female-factor infertility [18],

to our knowledge, there are no studies that focus on the personalization of the individual sexes’ perception of their social support.

This study specifically aims to explore those gender differences in solely infertile individuals without regard

to their partner (males with male-factor infertility vs. females with female-factor infertility.

This understanding will provide insight and information for developing interventions to improve the experiences of infertile individuals.바카라사이트

Materials & Methods
Participants and study design
Participants were recruited through an anonymous Qualtrics survey (Qualtrics, North Sydney, Australia)

posted to various online infertility support groups.

All individuals above 18 years of age who reported experiencing issues with infertility (currently or prior)

were eligible to participate in this observational, cross-sectional study.

Participation in the study was voluntary and no individuals were excluded as long as they were

at least 18 years of age. There was no cost nor compensation to the participants participating in this study.

The study was approved by the Rowan University Institutional Review Board #Pro2020001151 (16 September 2021).

Survey tool
Participants who consented to this study completed a 24-question Qualtrics survey.

Eight questions assessed demographics including: age, sex assigned at birth, race/ ethnicity,

marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, education level and household income.

Fifteen questions assessed additional background information consisting of questions regarding relationships,

pregnancies, infertility and social support network.

The 12-item Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) [19] was used to assess participants’ level of perceived social support.

The scale is comprised of three subscales which correspond with distinct sources of social support:

significant other, family and friends.

Each subscale consists of four items with response options ranging from 1 (very strongly disagree) to 7 (very strongly agree).

Higher scores indicate greater perceived social support. The MSPSS has been shown to be a valid measure of perceived

social support and has demonstrated high internal consistency as well as reliability and validity

with alpha values for the subscales and total scale between 85 and 91 [19].

Statistical analyses of survey results were conducted using IBM SPSS Statistics 28 (IBM Corp, Armonk, USA).

1,018 individuals participated in this study with 938 adequately completing the survey.

A total of 878 females and 60 males participated in our study.

The majority of respondents were White, between ages 30-35, married, heterosexual, with a bachelor’s

degree as the highest level of education and household income above $100,000 amongst both females and females.

Data are mean ± standard deviation, unless otherwise stated.

Mean total scores were higher in women (5.13 ± 1.10) compared with men (4.43 ± 1.58). Mean scores on all subscales (SO, family, friend)

were higher in women (5.90 ± 1.20, 4.53 ± 1.53, 4.97 ± 1.40) compared with men (5.04 ± 1.90, 4.06 ± 1.76, 4.20 ± 1.81), respectively.

A Welch t-test was run to determine if there were differences in scores on the MSPSS subscales

(total, SO, family, friend) between males and females, due to the assumption of homogeneity of variances

being violated, as assessed by Levene’s test for equality of variances (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p= 0.013, p < 0.001, respectively).

There were outliers in the data, as assessed by inspection of a boxplot, however, it was determined that

the outliers would have no significant effect as results were similar when testing both with and without the inclusion of outliers.

Scores for all subscales were approximately normally distributed, as assessed by visual inspection

of a Normal Q-Q Plot, which is the most preferable method in the setting of large sample sizes.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean total score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.70 (95% CI, -1.11 to -0.28), t(63.018) = -3.360, p = .001.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean SO score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.86 (95% CI, -1.35 to -0.36), t(62.277) = -3.452, p = .001.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean family score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.47 (95% CI, -0.94 to -0.01), t(65.219) = -2.039, p = 0.046.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean friend score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.76 (95% CI, -1.24 to -0.29), t(63.018) = -3.360, p = 0.002 (Table 4).

provides a visual representation of the breakdown of individual item scores within the MSPSS for males and females.

As our sample sizes were largely unequal, we additionally repeated our analysis with a random sampling of the larger

group (females) to create a more similarly sized comparison group for the smaller group (males), which resulted in similar results.

Specifically, we compared 60 male and 64 female participants. Mean total scores were higher in women (5.21 ± 1.09) compared with men (4.43 ± 1.58).

Mean scores on all subscales (SO, family, friend) were higher in women (5.88 ± 1.19, 4.66 ± 1.47, 5.10 ± 1.34)

compared with men (5.04 ± 1.90, 4.06 ± 1.76, 4.20 ± 1.81), respectively.

Our findings regarding outliers and normality were the same as described above.

As the assumption of homogeneity of variances was again violated, as assessed by Levene’s test for

equality of variances (p <0.001, p =0.020, p = 0.005, p < 0.001, respectively),

a Welch t-test was run. There was a statistically significant difference in mean total score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.78 (95% CI, -1.26 to -0.30), t(103.932) = -3.170, p = .002.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean SO score between females and males, with females scoring

higher than males, 0.84 (95% CI, -1.40 to -0.27), t(97.859) = -2.93, p = .004.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean family score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.60 (95% CI, -1.18 to -0.02), t(115.350) = -2.059, p = 0.042.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean friend score between females and males,

with females scoring higher than males, 0.90 (95% CI, -1.47 to -0.33), t(108.506) = -3.123, p = 0.002.

A two-way ANOVA was conducted on a random smaller sub-sample of individuals who provided their infertility

diagnoses to examine the effects of gender and infertility diagnosis on total score.

Data are mean ± standard deviation, unless otherwise stated. Residual analyses for each subscale were performed

to test for the assumptions of the two-way ANOVA.

Outliers were assessed by inspection of a boxplot, normality was assessed using Shapiro-Wilk’s normality test

for each cell of the design and homogeneity of variances was assessed by Levene’s test.

There was one outlier in the data, however, it was determined that the outlier would have no significant

effect as results were similar when testing both with and without the inclusion of the outlier.

Residuals were normally distributed (p > .05) and there was homogeneity of variances (p = 0.085).

There was a statistically significant interaction between sex and infertility diagnosis for “Total score,” F(1, 22) = 6.404, p = .019, partial η2 = 0.225.

Therefore, an analysis of simple main effects for gender and for infertility diagnosis was performed

with statistical significance receiving a Bonferroni adjustment and being accepted at the p < .025 level.

There was a statistically significant difference in mean “total score” for males with either male-factor or female-factor infertility, F(1,22) = 9.638, p < .005, partial η2 = .305, but not for females, F(1, 22) = 0.225, p = 0.640, partial η2 = 0.010 (Table 7).

All pairwise comparisons were run for each simple main effect with reported 95% confidence intervals and p-values Bonferroni-adjusted within each simple main effect.

Mean “total scores” for males with male-factor and female-factor infertility were 2.93 ± 1.62 and 5.15 ± 1.28, respectively.

Males with male-factor infertility had a statistically significantly lower mean total score than males with female-factor infertility, -2.22 (95% CI, -3.71 to -0.74), p= 0.005.

Mean total scores for females with male-factor and female-factor infertility were 5.66 ± 0.80 and 5.32 ± 1.15, respectively.

There was no statistically significant difference in mean total scores among females with male-factor and female-factor infertility, 0.34 (95% CI, -1.15 to 1.82), p= 0.640.

For males and females with male-factor infertility, mean “total” score was 2.73 (95% CI, 1.43 to 4.03) points lower for males than females, F(1,22) = 18.89, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.462.

In contrast, for males and females with female-factor infertility, mean “total” score was 0.167 (95% CI, -1.81 to 1.48) points lower in males than females, F (1, 22) = 0.044, p < 0.836, partial η2 = 0.002, which was not significantly different.온라인카지노

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