Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

AuthorCountryParticipants (N)
I: intervention
C: control assigned
(final analysis) (men %)
Study designIntervention type*Intervention category†Intervention formatNumber of sessionsIntervention duration (weeks)Outcome: psychological‡
IS: infertility stress
A: anxiety
D: depression
MF: marital function
Outcome: pregnancy§ (+/−)Quality score¶
J: Jadad 0–5
MJ: modified Jadad 0–12
J (MJ)
O’Moore et al79Ireland, UKI: 30 (22) (50%)
C: 20 (20) (50%)
NRCTAutogenic trainingMBIGroup88D: BDI
A: STAI
1 (4)
Lukse62USAI: 29 (29 (14))UCTCounsellingOtherGroup66D: DES0 (3)
Sarrel and DeCherney86USAI: 20 (10)
C: 20 (9)
NRCTPsychotherapeutic interviewOtherCouples11+ 0 (1)
Domar et al63USAI: 54 (54)UCTMind/body programmeMBIGroup1010A: STAI0 (3)
Domar et al64USAI: 52 (41)UCTBehavioural medicine programme for infertilityMBIGroup1010A: STAI1 (3)
Galletly et al82AustraliaI: 37 (37)UCTTreatment programmeOtherGroup2424D: HADS
A: HADS
1 (3)
McQueeney et al80USAI: 20 (20)
C: 9 (9)
NRCTEmotion-focused and problem-focused therapiesOtherGroup66IS: ISD
D: BDI
3 (7)
Tuschen-Caffier et al41GermanyI: 34 (22)
C: 24 (24)
NRCTCBTCBTCouples10–1232IS: one item
MF: one item
1 (4)
Domar et al78 95USAI: 56 (20)
C: 63 (14)
RCTPsychological interventionMBIGroup1010D: BDI
A: STAI
+4 (10)
Terzioglu91TurkeyI: 60 (60) (50%)
C: 60 (60) (50%)
RCTCounsellingOtherIndividual55D: BDI
A: STAI
+2 (5)
Hosaka et al87JapanI: 37 (37)
C: 37 (37)
NRCTStructured interventionMBIGroup55+3 (6)
McNaughton-Cassill et al96USAI: 43 (43)(39.5%)
C: 37 (37)(48.6%)
NRCTCouples’ supportCBTCouples63D: BDI
A: BAI
2 (5)
Emery et al65SwitzerlandI: 158 (110)(34.8%)
C: 152 (131)(42.8%)
RCTPre-IVF counsellingOtherCouples11D: BDI
A: STAI
3 (6)
Lee66TaiwanI: 64 (64)
C: 68 (68)
RCTNursing crisis intervention programmeMBIIndividual77D: SDS
A: STAI
1 (4)
De Klerk et al92The NetherlandsI: 22 (18)
C: 22 (15)
RCTCounsellingOtherGroup34–5D: HADS
A: HADS
3 (6)
Schmidt et al59DenmarkI: 13 (13)
C: 435 (435)
NRCTStress managementOtherGroup56IS: COMPI1 (4)
Chan et al67Hong Kong, ChinaI: 101 (69)
C: 126 (115)
RCTThe Eastern body–mind interventionMBIGroup44A: STAI3 (7)
Levitas et al88IsraelI: 89 (89)
C: 96 (96)
NRCTHypnosisMBIIndividual11+0 (1)
Nilforooshan et al58IranI: 30 (30)(50%)
C: 30 (30)(50%)
RCTCognitive–behavioural counsellingCBTGroup66D: BDI
A: BAI
2 (6)
Tuil et al68The NetherlandsI: 108 (102) (50%)
C: 96 (78) (48.7%)
RCTInternet-based health recordOtherIndividualInfinite2D: BDI
A: STAI
+3 (6)
Cousineau et al83USAI: 96 (49)
C: 92 (49)
RCTPsycho-educational supportOtherOnline1–24IS: FPI
MF: RDAS
4 (8)
Faramarzi et al61IranI: 42 (29)
C: 40 (30)
RCTCBTCBTGroup1010D: BDI
A: Cattell
3 (6)
Lancastle and Boivin69Wales, UKI: 28 (28)
C: 27 (27)
RCTBrief coping interventionOtherIndividual142IS: CIQ4 (8)
Noorbala et al84IranI: 288 (288)(50%)UCTCBTCBTGroup24D: BDI3 (8)
Mori70JapanI: 85 (85)
C: 40 (40)
RCTStress managementOtherIndividual312D: HADS
A: HADS
4 (8)
Panagopoulou et al71England, UKI: 50 (50)
C: 98 (98)
RCTExpressive writing interventionOtherIndividual31IS: ISS
A: STAI
+3 (7)
Haemmerli et al72SwitzerlandI: 60 (46)
C: 64 (41)
RCTCoaching and supportOtherOnline138IS: IDS
D: CES-D
A: STAI
3 (6)
Sexton et al85USAI: 21 (15)
C: 22 (16)
RCTWeb-based coping with infertilityOtherIndividual2IS: FPI3 (6)
Domar et al89USAI: 46 (46)
C: 51 (51)
RCTMind/body programme for infertilityMBIGroup1010+4 (6)
Hughes and de Silva73CanadaI: 21 (21)UCTArt therapyOtherGroup8 (2 h)8D: BDI
A: BAI
0 (2)
Chan et al94Hong Kong, ChinaI: 141 (141)
C: 110 (110)
RCTIntegrative body–mind–spirit interventionMBIGroup4 (3 h)4A: STAI
MF: C-KMS
+3 (6)
Gorayeb et al90BrazilI: 93 (93)
C: 95 (95)
RCTBrief cognitive–behavioural interventionCBTGroup5 (2 h)5+1 (4)
Koszycki et al81CanadaI: 31 (23)UCTInterpersonal and supportive therapyOtherIndividual12 (50 min)12IS: FPI
D: BDI
HAM-D
3 (7)
Matthiesen et al74DenmarkI: 42 (15)
C: 40 (16)
RCTExpressive writing interventionOtherIndividual3 (20 min)1IS: COMPI4 (8)
Mosalanejad et al75 76IranI: 32 (32)
C: 33 (33)
RCTCognitive–behavioural treatmentCBTGroup12 (2 h)12D: DASS
A: DASS
1 (4)
Mosalanejad et al75 76IranI: 16 (16)
C: 15 (15)
NRCTCBTCBTGroup15 (1.5 h)16D: DASS
A: DASS
2 (5)
Catoire et al77FranceI: 50 (50)UCTHypnosisMBIIndividual41A: STAI4 (7)
Galhardo et al97PortugalI: 55 (55)
C: 37 (37)
NRCTMindfulness-based programme for infertilityMBIGroup10 (2 h)10IS: ISE
D: BDI
A: STAI
1 (4)
Vizheh et al93IranI: 86 (86) (50%)
C: 94 (86) (54.7%)
RCTMarital counsellingOtherGroup3 (1.5hrs)3MF: MSQ4 (8)
  • *Self-reported intervention type.

  • †Intervention type: CBT; MBI: mindfulness, yoga, relaxation, imagery, hypnosis, etc; Other: all other intervention types, for example, counselling, psychoeducation, supportive therapy, expressive writing intervention, brief therapy, emotion and problem focused therapy, and narrative therapy.

  • ‡Outcome measures: Infertility stress: CIQ, the Coping with Infertility Questionnaire; COMPI, the Copenhagen Multi-centre Psychosocial Infertility problem stress scale; FPI, Fertility Problem Index; IDS, Infertility Distress Scale; ISD, Infertility-Specific Distress and Well-being; ISE, Infertility Self-efficacy Scale; ISS, the Infertility and Strain Scale—Depression: BDI, the Beck Depression Inventory; CES-D, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression—short version; DES, The Differential Emotion Scale; DASS, the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale—depression; HADS, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; SDS, Zung's Self-administered Depression Scale—Anxiety: BAI, the Beck Anxiety Inventory; Cattell, Cattell Anxiety Inventory; DASS, the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale—anxiety; HAM-D, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale—subscale anxiety; STAI, Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory—Marital function: C-KMS, Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale—Chinese version RDAS (Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale)—dyadic cohesion subscale; MSQ, Marital Satisfaction Questionnaire.

  • §Pregnancy is defined as a clinical pregnancy when the heartbeat of the fetal sac is evident in the uterus with an ultrasound scan.

  • Jadad range 0–5 an assessment tool rating the quality and methodology of the studies included37 and the modified Jadad range 0–11(total score) included additional points for: inclusion of a control group, pre–post data, blinding of participants or researchers, use of standardised and reliable outcome measures and report of pre–post correlations.

  • CBT, cognitive–behavioural therapy; IVF, in vitro fertilisation; MBI, mind/body intervention; NRCT, non-randomised controlled trial; RCT, randomised controlled trial; UCT, uncontrolled trial (pre–post).