Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-24

Psychosocial characteristics of female infertility in a tertiary health institution in Nigeria

1 Department of Clinical Services, Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
2 Department of Mental Health, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Joyce O Omoaregba
Department of Clinical Services, Federal Psychiatric Hospital, P.M.B 1108, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.76567

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Objectives : Women with infertility experience higher rates of psychological distress compared with their fertile counterparts. In developing countries, socio-cultural factors may aggravate this distress. We aimed to determine the prevalence of psychological distress as well as its associated socio-cultural characteristics among women attending the infertility clinic of a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. Materials and Methods : Women (n = 100) attending an infertility clinic were consecutively recruited over a two-month period and compared with a similar number of pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic at the same hospital. A semi-structured questionnaire was designed to record socio-demographic and clinical variables. The 30-item General Health Questionnaire was used to screen for psychological distress. Results : The prevalence of probable psychological distress was significantly higher among the infertile group compared with their fertile counterparts (P<0.001). There were significant differences between the groups in terms of their mean age (P<0.01), employment status (P<0.02), educational status (P<0.01), and duration of marriage (P<0.001). Infertile women who had previously sought help from a traditional or faith-based healer for infertility were more likely to experience probable psychological distress (P<0.017). Conclusion : Infertile women are more vulnerable to psychological distress and require psychological support. There is a need to incorporate mental health screening and treatment in the routine care of infertile women in Nigeria.

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