June 24, 1988

Studies Question How Much Role Menopause Plays in Some Women's Emotional Distress

JAMA. 1988;259(24):3522-3523. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720240002002

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MENOPAUSE MAY BE LESS than it has been cracked up to be in terms of emotional distress. In two related analyses of a survey of middle-aged American women, investigators found that only a very small minority of women— 3%—express regret during and after menopause about the physical changes they are experiencing, and menopause does not cause depression.

Rather, it appears that it is the small group of women who already are depressed from which originates the bulk of complaints physicians receive about menopause and the popular stereotype of the menopausal blues, according to investigators.

These data suggest that physicians may find it fruitful to look more deeply at underlying emotional distress in women who present with apparently physiological problems around the menopause.

The findings of the largest-ever prospective study of noninstitutionalized middle-aged women, reported at the Boston meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, were greeted less with surprise than