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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1996 Aug;184(8):453-8.

Cross-cultural perspectives on menopause.

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  • 1Toronto Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Ontario, Canada.


Numerous physical and psychological symptoms have been attributed to the hormonal changes of menopause. Symptoms have also been attributed to loss of fertility, redefining of roles, empty nest syndrome, loss of femininity, and changes of status. Cross-cultural studies allow researchers to examine the contribution of physiological, psychological, and sociocultural influences to the experience of menopausal symptoms. Such research is complicated by differences between cultures in the definition of menopause, reproductive histories, symptom expression, and beliefs as to what constitutes status. A review of five important cross-cultural studies indicates that there are enormous differences in the experience of menopause among women in the same culture and among cultures. Menopausal symptoms seem to be caused by a combination of physical changes, cultural influences, and individual perceptions and expectations.

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