The contribution of adult attachment style to the adjustment to infertility

Mario Mikulincer, Netta Horesh, Rachel Levy-Shiff, Rachel Manovich, Joseph Shalev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This study examines the contribution of adult attachment style to the adjustment to infertility. Both husbands and wives of 80 infertile couples undergoing medical treatment completed the Attachment Style Scale, the Mental Health Inventory and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. One year later, data were collected on whether women became pregnant. Diagnosis of male infertility was significantly more distressing than diagnosis of female infertility. Significant differences were found among attachment groups: secure persons, either men or women, reported more well-being, less distress and more dyadic adjustment than avoidant and anxious-ambivalent persons. Partners of secure persons also reported significantly higher levels of well-being and dyadic adjustment and significantly lower levels of distress than partners of anxious-ambivalent persons. However, these effects of attachment style were significant mainly when male infertility was diagnosed. Husbands' secure attachment made a significant positive contribution to pregnancy likelihood and this effect was mediated by adjustment measures. Results are discussed in terms of attachment theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-280
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Medical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998


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