Each and every married couple intensely desires to
have a child. The newly married couples always see the dreams of having
children. Marriage means to continue racial tradition or to maintain a law of
reproduction. To have a child is symbolically important because it shapes
cultural and social identity of a couple. Married couples want to have a child
and to continue their inheritance. Each couple desires to have parenthood as it
is at the top of most parents’ identity hierarchies, ranking ahead of marriage.
Love for their child is a natural source for maternal and paternal feelings and
behaviour. Recent studies show that in resource-poor countries, where children
are highly valued for cultural and economic reasons, childlessness often creates
serious problems for couples. The stigma of childlessness is so great that
infertile women are socially isolated and neglected. Not, to have children can
disrupt the normal life expectations of both men and women 1,2
and is often viewed as a major life crises3 .India is not exceptional
in its emphasis on childbearing—making babies is the primary way women are
expected to make families the world over ,and in western nations, women
encounter stigma, if they do not become mothers4,5 The effects of
Childlessness are very intense. Its effects are of psycho-social type. There is
social role conflict and social tension and that disturbs their marital life6.
Involuntary childlessness is a very delicate and sensitive emotional problem and
the house where there is no child becomes automatically unhappy. The couples who
do not have a child are deprived of this heavenly joy which deeply affects their
marital adjustment as well as personal adjustment. It is found that
childlessness deeply affects personal, sexual and social levels of life. When we
think of childlessness at personal level, it creates the problem of self
-realization, self-actualization, and self-respect. Particularly for women, it
is very harmful. Like many women, men also suffer from low self esteem, anxiety,
isolation, blame, and greater sexual inadequacy. Childbearing is an important
goal for a marriage7 and not being able to have children may cause
To study the personal adjustment and marital adjustment of the childless
couples and couples with children.
To study the relationship among the personal and marital adjustment of
the childless couples and couples with children.
The following hypothesis will be investigated in the present study:
There will be no significant difference in the personal adjustment of the
childless couples and couples with children.
There will be no significant difference in the marital adjustment of the
childless couples and couples with children.
There will be no significant relationship in the personal and marital
adjustment of the childless couples and couples with children.
Sample comprised of 50 involuntary childless couples and 50 couples with
children. Childless couples were selected from the community by using the snow
ball technique; couples with children were randomly drawn from different areas
of Jammu. Married couples who ware living together (minimum duration of 2 years
and maximum duration of 15 years), educated up to the 10th standard
and proficient in English were included in the study. For inclusion in the
childless group the couple had to have failure to conceive due to the
incapability of fertilization of both or one of them, and a couple whose issues
do not survive after birth.
In addition to a socio-demographic data sheet, the following tools were
1. Marriage Adjustment Inventory
For the study of marital adjustment of childless couples and couples with
children marriage adjustment inventory developed by C.G Deshpande (1988) was
used. The inventory contains 25 items, 15 items are with rated statements on a
five point scale. The remaining 10 items are to be checked by the subject on
five point scale of agreement-disagreement. The reliability for total inventory
is .83 as measured by split-half method using even odd scores
2. Personal Adjustment Inventory
For the study of personal adjustment of couples, Personal Adjustment
inventory developed by C.G deshpande(1988) was used, it consists of 20
statements, and subject has to see how far each statement is applicable to
him/her on a three point scale. The split half reliability is .81 using even odd
Time required for all sets is 55-60 minutes.
Prior to data collection, childless couples were identified by using snow
boll technique. Couples with children were randomly selected. All the couples
were individually contacted, purpose of the research explained, willingness was
obtained, proper rapport established and appropriate instructions were given to
facilitate the completion of the questionnaires.
The childless couples and couples with children were comparable on base
line socio-demographic characteristics. The two groups differed significantly on
their scores on the personal adjustment (CLC, M=3.43, SD= .851; CWC, M=1.95, SD=
.871; t= 15.31 p< .01) and marital adjustment (CLC, M=3.44, SD=.580; CWC, M =
1.60, SD=.606; t=27.80, p<.01). The correlation between the two was positive and
Results on personal and marital adjustment showed that childless couples
exhibited poor adjustment at personal and marital level in comparison to their
counter parts, these differences were obtained both for males and females.
Comparison between the two groups of couples revealed that the mean scores of
the childless couples is higher as compared to the couples with children,
indicating poor adjustment both at personal and marital level. Similar results
are reported by a study, assessing the mental health and marital adjustment of
childless couples, their results showed that childlessness was the main factor
related to the condition of poor marital adjustment of the subjects 9
and creates greater deterioration in marital functioning10, with
women reporting poor marital adjustment and quality of life and men experiencing
less sexual satisfaction11. It was further found that infertility or
involuntary childlessness has direct effect on the marital adjustment, it
increases marital conflict and decreases sexual performance and frequency
12 . The stress associated with childlessness has direct effect on the
self-efficacy, marriage, intimacy and health. The negative effect of
childlessness on the quality of life was stronger for the female partners of
couples than their male counter parts. Childless females are more
anxious, have low self esteem and poor interpersonal relationship as compared to
their male counterparts 13, such women are excluded from societal
events and ceremonies and are even perceived as inauspicious 14.
Literature thus, suggests that infertility and involuntary childlessness is
undeniably a major life crises and psychologically stressful 15,16,17
and is more stressful for women than for men.18,8,19,20,21 Due
to all this childlessness has become a curse.
The consequences of childlessness are very harmful at psychological and
social level. Childless couples feel a kind of incompleteness and incompetence
as their attitude towards themselves become negative. They doubt about their
sexual ability, become frustrated and a few of them develop mental disorders.
There is a feeling of loneliness, anxiety and helplessness. The emotional
relationship between husband and wife may become rigid. In conclusion, to have
children appear to play a vital role in contributing to the satisfaction in the
personal and marital relationship or the lack of it. It is likely that
childlessness affects the marital relationship as both spouses appear to be
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in unsuccessful infertility treatment: what do patients need when medical
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E., Stein, M.,& Ganiats, T. ‘Impact of infertility on quality of life,
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with respect to daily and weekly stress. 2006, Paper presented at National
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Pradesh India : treatment-seeking and consequences. Reproductive Health Matters
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