All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Michelle Y Martin

Advisory Committee Members

G Wright Bates

Susan Isbill

Sharina Person

David Vance

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Like other medical conditions, infertility is often unforeseen and difficult to resolve. Though both genders are impacted, women exhibit the most psychological distress following the diagnosis. Among other coping strategies, some women use their religious or spiritual beliefs to cope with the crisis of infertility. While projects investigating the role of spirituality in mental and physical health are growing in momentum, none has integrated religious or spiritual beliefs into a formal psychological intervention for infertile women. This project aimed to evaluate the efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of such a 6-week, phone-based, spiritually-integrated therapy (SIT) program for infertile women. In the initial phase of this two-phase project, the SIT program was developed after literature review and consultation with panel of interdisciplinary professionals and a community-based panel of women who had been diagnosed with infertility. In Phase II, 25 women from a university-affiliated infertility clinic were recruited and randomized to the SIT program or to a similarly structured cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program. Anxiety, depression, fertility-related stress, religious coping, and spiritual transformation were assessed at baseline, immediately post-intervention, and at 3 months post-intervention to note between-group and within-group differences. Though participant response to the program was positive, no significant reductions in depression, anxiety, or fertility related distress were observed. Likewise, no significant changes in religious coping or spiritual transformation were noted. Suggestions for future research were are discussed, including strategies to maximize recruitment in this population and considerations for future studies.



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