Premature and normal menopause: an evaluation in terms of stress, marital adjustment and sex roles
Meral Onder, Aysegul Durak Batigun
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Article No: 4   Article Type :  Research
Objective: Middle age period brings about particular difficulties for some women, because of the physiological and psychological changes. The physiological changes occuring in this period is called andropause for males and menopause for females. While it starts about 40-50 years of age in general, it might be at an earlier stage of life for some women which is called premature menopause, indicating the climacterium. The main aim of this study is to compare two groups of women with premature menopause and normal menopause in terms of stress reactions, ways of coping, marital adjustment, and sex roles.

Method: Data were collected from a total of 224 women, 82 of which had premature menopause (under age 40), and 142 had normal menopause (above age 40). The participants were given Demographic Information Form (DIF), Stress Reactions Scale (SRS), Ways of Coping Inventory (WCI), Marital Adjustment Scale (MAS), and Bem Sex Roles Inventory (BSRI) to obtain data.

Results: The t-test analysis has revealed that the premature menopause group had higher scores in stress reactions, lower scores in self confident and optimistic ways of coping with stress, and lower scores in marital adjustment, compared to the normal menopause group. The predictive variables for both groups were found to be “degree of agreement in marriage”, “helpless style”, and “searching for social support” by regression analysis. The “masculine sex role” was the predictor of only the premature menopause group.

Discussion: When we review the related literature, we see that most of the studies are about women who entered menopause around 40 years of age and the problems they face in the process. There is very little research on women who enter menopause earlier (premature menopause). For this reason, it is felt that the current study will add to our knowledge on the premature manapause phenomenon, which challenges women physically and psychologically. We feel it is important to raise awareness in women on the issue in order to prevent and alleviate stress-related problems. We also feel the results of the study might be important in the areas of psychotheraphy and psychological counselling. For example during psychological counselling or psychotheraphy for premature menopause, it might be important to measure the sex roles, marital satisfaction levels and the levels of satisfaction of these women with their close interpersonal relationships, and try to design interventions accordingly. Additionally it might be helpful to teach new coping strategies to manage their stress levels.
Keywords : Marital adjustment, menopause, premature menopause, sex roles, stress
Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences 2016;29:
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