Communication, coping and social networking regarding infertility

Abstract: Infertility is a worldwide problem and is experienced as psychologically stressful. Communication about infertility varies depending on clinical aspects, personal relationships, and culture. The aim of this thesis was to explore and describe communication, coping and social networking among infertile women from a lifeworld perspective. Study I explored infertility-related communication and coping strategies among women affected by primary or secondary fertility problems. Structured self-administered questionnaires, administered between January and May 2012, yielded 199 responses. The questionnaire consisted of Likert scale items which were analysed with descriptive statistics and by using the Chi-square test for independence. Twice as many women with secondary infertility acknowledged that they never talked about the causes or results of tests and examinations with other persons, compared to women with primary infertility. In Study II the aim was to gain insight into which infertility-related issues are discussed on Swedish infertility blogs. A total of 4,508 postings from 25 infertility blogs were retrieved, from May to September 2017. An interactive quantitative-qualitative content analysis was performed using the automated text analysis tool, Gavagai Explorer, developed for analysis of large sets of textual data. A sentiment analysis was performed as the tool provides sentiment scores of the data indicating whether the bloggers were writing positively or negatively about a topic. All blogs were written by women and the analysis crystallized into the following topics: Emotions, Relations, Time and waiting, Body, Care and treatment, Food and diet and Exercise. The Body topic stood out by having more negative than positive sentiment. Study III explored infertile individuals’ experiences regarding the use and role of online social media, experiences from participating in online social media and experiences of infertility. A web-based questionnaire, linked to the bulletin boards of six closed online social media groups, during the fall of 2017, yielded 132 responses. A majority of the participants were female, and the questionnaire was answered mostly through Facebook. Of the participants, 60 percent participated in online social media focussed on infertility once a day or more, and 50 percent devoted from one to three hours weekly to these forums, with 40 percent making no postings. Study IV was a qualitative study based on seven telephone interviews describing women’s experiences of using social media focusing on infertility. The interviews were conducted between June 2020 and November 2020 and were analysed with thematic analysis. Two themes were devolved: Invaluable venue and Opportunity of choice. Different forums were used depending where in the treatment process the women were. Further, decisions about the choices of groups were also based on the targeted age groups and geographical locations of the participants.

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