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Am J Public Health. 2001 Sep;91(9):1435-42.

Psychologic distress and natural menopause: a multiethnic community study.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. brombergerjt@msx.upmc.edu



This study examined the association between psychologic distress and natural menopause in a community sample of African American, White, Chinese, Hispanic, and Japanese women participating in a national women's health study.


A cohort of 16,065 women aged 40 to 55 years provided information on menstrual regularity in the previous year, psychosocial factors, health, and somatic-psychologic symptoms. Psychologic distress was defined as feeling tense, depressed, and irritable in the previous 2 weeks.


Rates of psychologic distress were highest in early perimenopause (28.9%) and lowest in premenopause (20.9%) and postmenopause (22%). In comparison with premenopausal women, early perimenopausal women were at a greater risk of distress, with and without adjustment for vasomotor and sleep symptoms and covariates. Odds of distress were significantly higher for Whites than for the other racial/ethnic groups.


Psychologic distress is associated with irregular menses in midlife. It is important to determine whether distress is linked to alterations in hormone levels and to what extent a mood-hormone relationship may be influenced by socioeconomic and cultural factors.

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