The psychosocial impact of infertility on African American women: A grounded theory study

Ishani Ticinelli, Fordham University


The purpose of this grounded theory study was to understand African American women's experience of infertility and gain a comprehensive understanding of the psychological, emotional, and social consequences of infertility on African American women. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 African American women diagnosed with infertility. Open, axial, and selective themes were identified. The grounded theory emerged from a total of 42 open categories, 22 axial categories, and 7 selective categories. Participants experienced psychological consequences such as depressed feelings, sadness, and shock over their diagnosis. They feared that they would never experience motherhood and wondered what this meant in terms of their womanhood. Without any clear answers for the causes or cure to their infertility, African American women turned to their spirituality and God to guide them and had faith that He would ultimately bring them peace and joy. Coping mechanisms varied, and African American women used a combination of problem-focused mechanisms, emotion-focused strategies, as well as some unhealthy or maladaptive methods. Changes in the relationship with their partners occurred for all of the participants, with most experiencing major strains at some point during the infertility experience. Directions for future research and clinical implications for medical and mental health professionals were discussed.

Subject Area

African American Studies|Womens studies|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Ticinelli, Ishani, "The psychosocial impact of infertility on African American women: A grounded theory study" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3518884.