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Maturitas. 2011 Oct;70(2):120-6. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.07.014. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

Methods used in cross-cultural comparisons of psychological symptoms and their determinants.

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Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia.


This paper is the second in a series of reviews of cross-cultural studies of menopausal symptoms. The goal of this review is to compare and contrast methods which have been previously utilized in Cross-Cultural Midlife Women's Health Studies with a view to (1) identifying the challenges in measurement across cultures in psychological symptoms and (2) suggesting a set of unified questions and tools that can be used in future research in this area. This review also aims to examine the determinants of psychological symptoms and how those determinants were measured. The review included eight studies that explicitly compared symptoms in different countries or different ethnic groups in the same country and included: Australian/Japanese Midlife Women's Health Study (AJMWHS), Decisions At Menopause Study (DAMeS), Four Major Ethnic Groups (FMEG), Hilo Women's Health Survey (HWHS), Penn Ovarian Aging Study (POAS), Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), Women's Health in Midlife National Study (WHiMNS), and the Women's International Study of Health and Sexuality (WISHeS). This review concludes that mental morbidity does affect vasomotor symptom prevalence across cultures and therefore should be measured. Based on the review of these eight studies it is recommended that the following items be included when measuring psychological symptoms across cultures, feeling tense or nervous, sleeping difficulty, difficulty in concentrating, depressed and irritability along with the CES-D Scale, and the Perceived Stress Scale. The measurement of these symptoms will provide an evidence based approach when forming any future menopause symptom list and allow for comparisons across studies.

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