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Women Health. 2010 Jul;50(5):397-413. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2010.507721.

Relationships between menstrual and menopausal attitudes and associated demographic and health characteristics: the Hilo Women's Health Study.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, USA.


The objective of this study was to examine the relation of menstrual attitudes to menopausal attitudes and the demographic and health characteristics associated with each. This cross-sectional study consisted of a randomly selected sample of 1,824 respondents aged 16 to 100 years in multi-ethnic Hilo, Hawai'i. Women completed questionnaires for demographic and health information, such as age, ethnicity, education, residency in Hawai'i, menopausal status, exercise, and attitudes toward menstruation and menopause. Women more often chose positive terms, such as "natural," to describe menstruation (60.8%) and menopause (59.4%). In bivariate analyses, post-menopausal women were significantly more likely to have positive menstrual and menopausal attitudes than pre-menopausal women. Factor analyses were used to cluster attitudes followed by linear regression to identify demographic characteristics associated with factor scores. Asian-American ethnicity, higher education, reporting more exercise, and growing up outside of Hawai'i were associated with positive menstrual attitudes. Higher education, older age, post-menopausal status, growing up outside of Hawai'i and having hot flashes were associated with positive menopausal attitudes. Bivariate correlation analyses suggested significant associations between factor scores for menstrual and menopausal attitudes. Both negative and positive menstrual attitudes were positively correlated with the anticipation of menopause, although negative attitudes toward menstruation were negatively correlated with menopause as a positive, natural life event. Demographic variables, specifically education and where one grows up, influenced women's attitudes toward menstruation and menopause and should be considered for inclusion in subsequent multi-ethnic studies. Further research is also warranted in assessing the relationship between menstrual and menopausal attitudes.

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