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Menopause gets an emotional reprieve.

Menopause gets an emotional reprieve

For the vast majority of healthy, middle-aged women, menopause does not lead to emotional instability or psychological problems, according to a study in the June JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY.

The new research contradicts recent findings, based on small samples of menopausal women seeking psychological treatment, suggesting that the end of menstrual cycling often leads to an excess of depression and distress.

Psychologist Karen A. Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh and her co-workers interviewed 541 premenopausal women in their 40s who were recruited through random mailings. Three years later, the researchers interviewed 69 participants who had ceased menstruating for at least one year, and another 32 who no longer menstruated and took hormone supplements. Menopausal women averaged 50 years of age.

The onset of menopause, they found, had no overall effect on a spectrum of psychological features, including anxiety, anger, depression, self-consciousness in public, feelings of stress, excitability, nervousness and bodily worries. Menopausal women were psychologically comparable to 101 age-matched women who continued to menstruate, the researchers assert.

However, menopausal women who did not take hormones became less introspective and experienced more hot flashes, they note. About one in five hormone users reported more worries about their bodies and a few other symptoms of distress after menopause, but this may be due to specific types of hormone therapy or to the women's preexisting psychological and biological characteristics, the scientists say.
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Title Annotation:menopause and psychology
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 7, 1990
Words:237
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