Affect and enacted support in couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization: when providing is better than receiving.

Abstract

Although the term social support has positive connotations, research has shown that receiving help may be a double-edged sword. Received support may have no effects or may even be detrimental to recipients' well-being. However, providing support may have beneficial effects for the helper. This paper reports a study of competing and interactive effects of enacted support on affect in couples undergoing assisted reproduction treatments. Sixty-six male/female couples from two German fertility clinics participated in this study. Affect and support were assessed at 3 time points: upon oocyte and sperm collection, after embryo transfer, and following the first pregnancy test (3 weeks after the treatment outcomes were known). Results indicated that depending on the providers' gender, different forms of support provision predicted better affect developments. While women seemed to benefit from providing emotional support, higher positive affect among men was related to their provision of instrumental support. Neither support receipt nor reciprocal support, however, were reliably associated with affect changes. Results partially coincide with predictions from esteem-enhancement theory of supportive exchanges.

Cite this paper

@article{Knoll2007AffectAE, title={Affect and enacted support in couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization: when providing is better than receiving.}, author={Nina Knoll and Rolf Kienle and Katharina Bauer and Bettina Pf{\"{u}ller and Aleksandra Luszczynska}, journal={Social science & medicine}, year={2007}, volume={64 9}, pages={1789-801} }