Fertility problems are known to exert a negative impact on psychological health. Meanwhile, individuals with fertility challenges often view adoption as a positive healing experience. Yet, a dearth of work has examined the long-term impact that fertility problems have on adoptive parents and their childrearing stress. Here, we investigated how fertility problems related to parenting daily hassle (PDH) trajectories among adoptive mothers and fathers in the Early Growth and Development Study (N = 333). When adopted children were 9 months old, adoptive parents reported whether they had fertility problems prior to their decision to adopt and rated their PDH frequency and intensity on six occasions over the next 7 years. Multilevel models revealed inverse U-shaped curves for PDH among both fertile and infertile parents, such that PDH increased from child age 9 months until about 5 to 6 years and decreased thereafter. Mothers with fertility problems exhibited a steeper PDH incline from 9 months to the peak at child age 5 to 6, but also incurred a swifter subsequent decline. There were no significant differences in fathers’ PDH trajectories based on fertility problems. We discuss why fertility problems appear to impact PDH trajectories for mothers rather than fathers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science