She is less than a year into her ESRC-funded research, but Jacky Boivin is already "very excited" about her findings. Her interest is in the relationship between stress and infertility, in particular the strategies adopted by infertile couples to deal with the information fed them by doctors.
"Feedback can interfere with a coping strategy," she says. "Some people approach the situation pessimistically, and if you give them good news it interferes with that strategy and causes distress."
Boivin hopes to present her findings at a conference in the United States in the autumn. Meanwhile she is continuing her research, on negative feedback, stress, biological response and outcome in infertility treatment, in the University of Wales Cardiff's psychology department, where her Pounds 33,000 grant has secured her two part-time research assistants for 18 months ending in February 1997. A Canadian, she has a PhD from Concordia University, Montreal, and is funded by a Quebec government scholarship.
Boivin came to Cardiff last year. "I was interested in coming because the National Health Service offers free in vitro fertilisation. That means there is a more varied population to study."