A Two-centre Study of Psychiatric Morbidity among Infertile Chinese Women in Hong Kong
Objectives: To study the psychiatric morbidity of infertile females versus fertile females in Hong Kong using validated psychometric tests and to investigate the intrinsic demographic factors related to psychological morbidity that arises from infertility.
Methods: A two-centre cross-sectional observational study was conducted of consecutive infertile patients who attended an infertility clinic and fertile controls who attended the nurse-led smear clinic from 1 June 2014 to 30 November 2014. Socio-demographic and clinical data were collected. Psychometric status was assessed by a 12-item General Health Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).
Results: Analysis of 245 valid questionnaires revealed a significantly higher median STAI score in infertile women compared with their fertile counterparts (58 vs. 50, p=0.001). More infertile women had tertiary education or above (37.4% vs. 14.3%, p=0.01) and more were in full-time employment compared with fertile controls (71.6% vs. 41.0%, p=0.002). The prevalence of housewives was double among the controls (46.2% vs. 20.6%, p=0.002). More infertile women lived in private housing compared with controls (75.5% vs. 50.0%, p=0.001). Subgroup analyses revealed that infertile housewives and those living in private housing scored significantly higher in STAI than their fertile counterparts (p=0.03 and p=0.04, respectively).
Conclusion: Infertile women have a higher predisposition to anxiety disorders and were more career-oriented. Subgroup analyses of possible confounding factors revealed that infertile housewives and private-housing occupants were significantly more prone to anxiety than their fertile counterparts.
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