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Subfecundity and anxiety in a nationally representative sample


  • King, Rosalind Berkowitz


Research thus far on the psychological consequences of impaired fecundity in developed countries has relied heavily on clinic-based samples. This study uses a nationally representative sample of American women regardless of fecundity status or treatment status. I analyze reports of fecundity status and anxiety from a 1995 sample of almost 11,000 respondents. The results show consistent positive effects of subfecundity on the odds of fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the incidence rate of symptoms among those who would be so diagnosed, even when controlling for potential confounding factors. Whether a subfecund respondent currently desires to have a child does not moderate the likelihood of being anxious, but does moderate the number of symptoms reported. The lack of a moderating effect of seeking treatment suggests that past research on clinic-based samples is generalizable to all subfecund women.

Suggested Citation

  • King, Rosalind Berkowitz, 2003. "Subfecundity and anxiety in a nationally representative sample," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 739-751, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:4:p:739-751

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    Cited by:

    1. Maximova, Katerina & Quesnel-Vallée, Amélie, 2009. "Mental health consequences of unintended childlessness and unplanned births: Gender differences and life course dynamics," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 850-857, March.
    2. Greil, Arthur L. & McQuillan, Julia & Lowry, Michele & Shreffler, Karina M., 2011. "Infertility treatment and fertility-specific distress: A longitudinal analysis of a population-based sample of U.S. women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 87-94, July.


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