Differences between infertile women with and without PCOS in terms of anxiety, coping styles, personality traits, and social adjustment: a case–control study

  • Zahra Basirat
  • Mahbobeh FaramarziEmail author
  • Mohammad Chehrazi
  • Mania Amiri
  • Faezeh Ghofrani
  • Zahra Tajalli
Gynecologic Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine



The aim of the study was to identify differences in the level of anxiety, stress coping ways, personality traits, and social adjustments in infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared to those without PCOS.


In a case–control study, 257 infertile of women were recruited at Fatemeh Azahra Infertility and Reproductive Health Research Center (Babol, Iran) from May 2016 to December 2017. A total of 135 women with PCOS and 122 women without PCOS completed the following questionnaires; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WCQ), NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), and Bell’s Adjustment Inventory.


Infertile women with PCOS had a higher mean score of trait anxiety than those without PCOS (46.19 ± 5.29 vs 44.49 ± 5.13, P = 0.004), but no difference was observed for state anxiety. The two groups did not have any significant differences in the mean scores of social adjustment and ways of coping, except for social support and problem-focused coping which were higher in the PCOS group. The PCOS personality traits of PCOS infertile women were not different regarding neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness. The only exception was that infertile PCOS women had a significantly higher mean score of openness to experience than those without PCOS (P = 0.049).


Clinicians could take advantage of the psychological differences of infertile women with PCOS and without PCOS for better management of PCOS in infertility settings; despite higher levels of anxiety they are more likely to cope with stress and are welcome to new experiences.


Polycystic ovary syndrome Infertility Anxiety Personality Coping Psychological adjustment 



The authors thank all of the infertile women who participated the study. The study approved by the Ethics Committee of Babol University of Medical Sciences (Grant no. 2292).

Author contributions

ZB: protocol/project development, manuscript editing. MF: protocol/project development, manuscript writing/editing. MC: data analysis. MA: protocol/project development. FG: data collection. ZT: data collection.


The Deputy Research of Babol University of Medical Sciences approved and supported the study (Grant no. 2292).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Informed consent

Informed written consent was completed by all participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Infertility and Health Reproductive Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical SciencesBabolIslamic Republic of Iran
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologySchool of Medicine, Babol University of Medical SciencesBabolIslamic Republic of Iran
  3. 3.Obstetrics and GynecologyInfertility and Health Reproductive Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical SciencesBabolIslamic Republic of Iran

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