Objective: To explore the relationship between women's attitudes toward menopause and hormone therapy and paradigms of menopause as a natural life event versus a biomedical phenomenon.
Design: Women (N = 2092) sampled from physicians' practices in Washington state completed mailed questionnaires with a response rate of 72%.
Results: Women's attitudes toward menopause were unrelated to their adoption of a biomedical versus developmental paradigm of menopause. In contrast, women's adoption of the view that menopause was an endocrine deficiency and that symptoms should be treated with hormones were correlated. Endorsement of the endocrine deficiency model of menopause was related to women's attitudes toward hormone therapy as more efficacious, less risky, and requiring daily use of a drug. Women's experiences of a hysterectomy and hormone use were associated with their attitudes.
Conclusions: Women's attitudes toward menopause are multidimensional and not influenced wholly by adoption of a biomedical or developmental paradigm. Women embraced menopause as part of life and simultaneously accepted changes in their endocrine production. Attitudes toward hormone therapy were closely aligned with adoption of a biomedical view of menopause and use of hormone therapy.
(C)1998The North American Menopause Society