Winner’s story: Dr Syeda Shahida Batool and Dr Richard de Visser

Higher Education Commission of Pakistan - 5th HEC Best Research Paper Award

These results of the survey analysis and the qualitative interview data indicate that the most effective way to address the psychological impact of infertility is to take a psychosocial approach that is sensitive to cultural differences…

Dr Syeda Shahida BatoolThe paper presents the results of a study designed to identify psychosocial variables related to physical health and psychological well being among infertile women in two different cultures – Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The data came from a mixed-methods cross-cultural study of women’s experiences of infertility. The prize-winning paper is a companion paper to another published in the Taylor & Francis journal Health Care for Women International.

 

Dr Richard de VisserThe prize winning paper presented an analysis of quantitative survey data from a study of 164 infertile women living in Pakistan and 148 infertile women living in the UK. The study findings revealed some similarities – total scores on the General Health Questionnaire were similar for women in both countries.

However, there were also important differences: British women reported greater anxiety, insomnia and social dysfunction, whereas Pakistani women reported greater depression and somatic symptoms. In both samples, greater received social support was a significant predictor of higher GHQ scores. Among Pakistani women better health was also predicted by greater education, greater perceived available social support, and having a nuclear family system rather than an extended family.

Among British women, better health was also predicted by greater emotional intelligence and more emotional satisfaction in their relationship with their partner. These results of the survey analysis and the qualitative interview data indicate that the most effective way to address the psychological impact of infertility is to take a psychosocial approach that is sensitive to cultural differences.

The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) gives annual “Outstanding Research Paper” awards to the best published papers by Pakistani nationals. Dr Batool had received funding from HEC to complete post-doctoral work at the University of Sussex. The publication was one of 450 papers submitted to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. It was one of 5 award winners in the “Social Science” category.

Dr Batool obtained funding from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan to carry out Post-Doctoral research at the University of Sussex. There were the usual recruitment barriers, but a concerted effort by Dr Batool to work with providers of services of women experiencing infertility meant that suitable samples were recruited in Pakistan and the UK.

To be considered for the award, articles must be published in a highly-regarded journal with a good impact factor, and the research should include a robust methodology. The research should have a significant impact on health, education, or the economy.


Read their winning article: Psychosocial and contextual determinants of health among infertile women: A cross-cultural study

Find out more about the journal Psychology, Health & Medicine