Infertility and Self-identification: The Indeterminacy of the Illness-self Relationship

Katherine M. Johnson, Arthur L. Greil, Julia McQuillan, Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Karina M. Shreffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nearly one-third to one-half of U.S. women meets the medical criteria for infertility at some point in their reproductive lives. Yet many do not view lack of conception as problematic. Why might some women self-identify as having a fertility problem but others do not? Using two waves of the National Survey of Fertility Barriers, we conducted binary and longitudinal multinomial logistic regression to answer this question. Results suggest that only a portion of women actually experience infertility as a “spoiled identity” or as disruptive to their lives. Rather, consistent with symbolic interactionist perspectives, there is evidence that infertility symptoms (i.e., not conceiving) depend upon interpretations and definitions of the situation. Multiple patterns of self-identification over time (identity non-adopters, maintainers, adopters, and relinquishers) suggest an indeterminate association between illness and impacts on the self, even for a condition that is highly medicalized in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSociological Perspectives
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

illness
fertility
logistics
regression
interpretation
lack
evidence
experience
time

Keywords

  • body and embodiment
  • infertility
  • medical sociology
  • self-definition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Infertility and Self-identification : The Indeterminacy of the Illness-self Relationship. / Johnson, Katherine M.; Greil, Arthur L.; McQuillan, Julia; Leyser-Whalen, Ophra; Shreffler, Karina M.

In: Sociological Perspectives, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Johnson, Katherine M. ; Greil, Arthur L. ; McQuillan, Julia ; Leyser-Whalen, Ophra ; Shreffler, Karina M. / Infertility and Self-identification : The Indeterminacy of the Illness-self Relationship. In: Sociological Perspectives. 2019.
@article{96ebd228cd104ac88b131c4a1f5a6593,
title = "Infertility and Self-identification: The Indeterminacy of the Illness-self Relationship",
abstract = "Nearly one-third to one-half of U.S. women meets the medical criteria for infertility at some point in their reproductive lives. Yet many do not view lack of conception as problematic. Why might some women self-identify as having a fertility problem but others do not? Using two waves of the National Survey of Fertility Barriers, we conducted binary and longitudinal multinomial logistic regression to answer this question. Results suggest that only a portion of women actually experience infertility as a “spoiled identity” or as disruptive to their lives. Rather, consistent with symbolic interactionist perspectives, there is evidence that infertility symptoms (i.e., not conceiving) depend upon interpretations and definitions of the situation. Multiple patterns of self-identification over time (identity non-adopters, maintainers, adopters, and relinquishers) suggest an indeterminate association between illness and impacts on the self, even for a condition that is highly medicalized in the United States.",
keywords = "body and embodiment, infertility, medical sociology, self-definition",
author = "Johnson, {Katherine M.} and Greil, {Arthur L.} and Julia McQuillan and Ophra Leyser-Whalen and Shreffler, {Karina M.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0731121419867691",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Sociological Perspectives",
issn = "0731-1214",
publisher = "University of California Press",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Infertility and Self-identification

T2 - The Indeterminacy of the Illness-self Relationship

AU - Johnson, Katherine M.

AU - Greil, Arthur L.

AU - McQuillan, Julia

AU - Leyser-Whalen, Ophra

AU - Shreffler, Karina M.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Nearly one-third to one-half of U.S. women meets the medical criteria for infertility at some point in their reproductive lives. Yet many do not view lack of conception as problematic. Why might some women self-identify as having a fertility problem but others do not? Using two waves of the National Survey of Fertility Barriers, we conducted binary and longitudinal multinomial logistic regression to answer this question. Results suggest that only a portion of women actually experience infertility as a “spoiled identity” or as disruptive to their lives. Rather, consistent with symbolic interactionist perspectives, there is evidence that infertility symptoms (i.e., not conceiving) depend upon interpretations and definitions of the situation. Multiple patterns of self-identification over time (identity non-adopters, maintainers, adopters, and relinquishers) suggest an indeterminate association between illness and impacts on the self, even for a condition that is highly medicalized in the United States.

AB - Nearly one-third to one-half of U.S. women meets the medical criteria for infertility at some point in their reproductive lives. Yet many do not view lack of conception as problematic. Why might some women self-identify as having a fertility problem but others do not? Using two waves of the National Survey of Fertility Barriers, we conducted binary and longitudinal multinomial logistic regression to answer this question. Results suggest that only a portion of women actually experience infertility as a “spoiled identity” or as disruptive to their lives. Rather, consistent with symbolic interactionist perspectives, there is evidence that infertility symptoms (i.e., not conceiving) depend upon interpretations and definitions of the situation. Multiple patterns of self-identification over time (identity non-adopters, maintainers, adopters, and relinquishers) suggest an indeterminate association between illness and impacts on the self, even for a condition that is highly medicalized in the United States.

KW - body and embodiment

KW - infertility

KW - medical sociology

KW - self-definition

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85071232397&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85071232397&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0731121419867691

DO - 10.1177/0731121419867691

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85071232397

JO - Sociological Perspectives

JF - Sociological Perspectives

SN - 0731-1214

ER -