Relational uncertainty, partner interference, and infertility: A qualitative study of discourse within online forums

Keli Ryan Steuber, Denise Haunani Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


Infertility afflicts one in six couples and confronts partners with life decisions that have long-term implications for their partnerships. The authors analyzed discourse from online discussion board strings and blogs (N = 438) to consider how this reproductive disability is both affected by and transforms the marital relationship. Specifically, a relational turbulence model lens was used to gain insight into the salient relational issues of couples coping with infertility. A qualitative theme analysis revealed two relational uncertainty themes (relational invalidation and implications of blame), two partner interference themes (supremacy of the pregnancy goal and violated expectations for treatment involvement), and two identity themes (strengthened relational identity and personal identity shifts).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-855
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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