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Title:Talking About Infertility: A Conceptual Model
Author(s):Bute, Jennifer J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Daena J. Goldsmith
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Mental Health
Abstract:For the millions of women in the United States who experience a fertility problem (i.e., trouble getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term), discussing their infertility with others is a significant issue that can influence their relationships, their coping and well-being, and their access to social support. However, disclosing a fertility problem can pose a variety of challenges, such as the revelation of a stigmatizing condition and the discussion of a painful experience. Although some scholars have shed light on this topic, women's talk about infertility has not been investigated using a communication perspective. This study used assumptions drawn from communication theory and research to explore the various ways women talk about infertility, the meanings they attribute to talk, and the dilemmas that they, and their interactional partners, face when it comes to talking about this potentially stigmatizing condition. Twenty-three women took part in qualitative interviews and described conversations in which they discussed or avoiding discussing infertility and related aspects with others. Results indicated that women discuss their fertility problem during various types of interactions and in diverse ways. In addition, women attribute multiple, potentially conflicting, meanings to talk about infertility, and the way they discuss their experiences can evolve over time. Based on these ideas, the study proposes a conceptual model that demonstrates the complex interrelationship among the way a topic arises in an interaction, the manner in which it is discussed, and the meanings attributed to talk. The study offers contributions to communication theory and to the literature on infertility, as well as practical implications that can be used to develop educational materials and design interventions.
Issue Date:2007
Description:205 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3290188
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2007

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