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Maturitas. 2012 Aug;72(4):324-31. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 May 17.

Menopausal symptoms: do life events predict severity of symptoms in peri- and post-menopause?

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  • 1Psychology and Health Research Unit, ISPA-Instituto Universitário, Portugal.



Hormonal changes during menopausal transition are linked to physical and psychological symptoms' emergence. This study aims to explore if life events predict menopausal symptoms.


This cross-sectional research encompasses a community sample of 992 women who answered to socio-demographic, health, menopause-related and lifestyle questionnaires; menopausal symptoms and life events were assessed with validated instruments. Structural equation modeling was used to build a causal model.


Menopausal status predicted only three symptoms: skin/facial hair changes (β=.136; p=.020), sexual (β=.157; p=.004) and, marginally, vasomotor symptoms (β=.094; p=.054). Life events predicted depressive mood (β=-.391; p=.002), anxiety (β=-.271; p=.003), perceived cognitive impairment (β=-.295; p=.003), body shape changes (β=-.136; p=.031), aches/pain (β=-.212; p=.007), skin/facial hair changes (β=-.171; p=.021), numbness (β=-.169; p=.015), perceived loss of control (β=-.234; p=.008), mouth, nails and hair changes (β=-.290; p=.004), vasomotor (β=-.113; p=.044) and sexual symptoms (β=-.208; p=.009).


Although women in peri- and post-menopausal manifested higher symptoms' severity than their pre-menopausal counterparts, only three of the menopausal symptoms assessed were predicted by menopausal status. Since the vast majority of menopausal symptoms' severity was significantly influenced by the way women perceived their recent life events, it is concluded that the symptomatology exacerbation, in peri- and post-menopausal women, might be due to life conditions and events, rather than hormonal changes (nonetheless, the inverse influence should be investigated in future studies). Therefore, these should be accounted for in menopause-related clinical and research settings.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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