An interpretative phenomenological analysis of meaning-making of infertility among infertile Turkish women: Developing and testing the effectiveness of an online intervention program in meaning-making

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2018




Infertility stands as a stressful life event affecting many individuals. The current study adopts a mixed-method design including a qualitative study followed by a quantitative study. The first study aimed to understand the subjective meaning of infertility and meaning making among infertile Turkish women by conducting an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four themes were identified including ‘The sense of ideal woman: Self-sacrificing mother’, ‘The sense of infertility: The incomplete woman’, ‘Efforts on meaning making’ and finally ‘Overcompensation of Incompleteness: Self-sacrificing ‘mother-to-be’. The themes were used in developing an online intervention for women with infertility based on the principals of Meaning-Centered Therapy by Wong (2010). An 8-weeks online group intervention program focusing on improving the positive meaning making was implemented to 27 infertile women. Their results on Presence of and Searching for Meaning, Post-Traumatic Growth, Stress Appraisal Measure (measuring Threat, Challenge, Controllable by Self, Controllable by Others, and Uncontrollable by Anyone in a specific stressful event) as well as depression, anxiety, hopelessness, positive and negative affect and finally infertility self-efficacy were compared with 24 women in the control group. In the pre-test post-test control group study, as expected, the online intervention was found to be effective in increasing presence of meaning and the tendency to evaluate infertility as a challenge, controllable by self and controllable by others in infertile women. The other results as well as the impact and implications of the study were discussed