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Clinicians often find that their patients approach the menopause transition (MT) and its anticipated physiological and psychological symptoms with trepidation, although it is a natural life transition. Research suggests that a woman’s personal experience of the MT informs menopausal representation and, furthermore, this representation affects both her quality of life and the way in which she deals with the various symptoms of the peri- and postmenopause. Although studies measuring cognitive menopausal representations, using the menopause representations questionnaire (MRQ) [1], found that these representations may affect depressive mood and are related to coping, dealing with symptomatology and quality of life in midlife women, Brown and colleagues suggest that these results are limited since emotional menopausal representations were not included; additional research was needed to investigate the affects of both these menopausal representations and also whether menopausal stage may be associated with differences in these representations [2]. Their cross-sectional study examined both cognitive and emotional aspects of the menopausal representations by including two questionnaires: the MRQ and an emotional representation questionnaire specifically modified to focus on menopause. Data were collected from 387 participants and menopause stage was obtained using the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop +10 criteria. They found that there was a strong association between both menopausal cognitive and emotional representations (common variance = 37–62%), and that there were significant differences across menopause stages. The cognitive representation was significantly more positive in postmenopausal women in comparison to peri- and premenopausal women (SMD = 0.25, p > 0.05). This difference was also seen in the positive emotional representation of postmenopausal participants when compared to the peri- and premenopausal participants, and this positive response increased across menopause stage.

Author(s)

  • Nicole Jaff
    Department of Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand; Research Scientist, The Aurum Institute, South Africa

Citations

  1. Hunter MS, O’Dea I. Cognitive appraisal of the menopause: The menopause representations questionnaire (MRQ). Psychol Health Med 2001;6:65-76
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/713690224
  2. Brown L, Brown V, Judd F, Bryant C. It’s not as bad as you think: menopausal representations are more positive in postmenopausal women. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 2017;22:1-8
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28937311
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    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2053369116680895
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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25417543
  8. Toffol E, Heikinheimo O, Partonen T. Associations between psychological well-being, mental health, and hormone therapy in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: results of two population-based studies. Menopause 2013;20:667-76
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23277355
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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20616668
  10. Bromberger JT, Schott L, Kravitz HM, Joffe H. Risk factors for major depression during midlife among a community sample of women with and without prior major depression: are they the same or different? Psychol Med 2015;45:1653-64
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25417760
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