Objective: This study compared symptoms at midlife, menopause attitudes, and depression among three groups of late peri- or postmenopausal women, namely, women with cardiovascular disease (CVD group), women with osteoporosis (Os group), and women in generally good health (Co group).
Methods: We used a cross-sectional method. Participants were purposively sampled from a medical center and a residential community in southern Taiwan. A total of 500 women between 45 and 60 years of age participated in the study. Four measures were used: a demographics and health habits questionnaire, the Women’s Health Initiative Symptom Scale, the Attitudes Towards Menopause Scale, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale.
Results: Significant demographic differences among the groups were found in age, number of children, educational level, family income, employment status, exercise duration per session, smoking status, daily cigarette consumption, and number of years smoking. After significant covariates had been controlled for, the CVD group reported significantly more severe symptoms at midlife than did the Co group; significantly more severe “psychosomatic symptoms” than did the Co group; and significantly more severe “gastrointestinal symptoms and swelling” and “vasomotor symptoms” than did either the Os group or the Co group. The CVD group also reported significantly greater depressive symptoms than did the Os group.
Conclusions: This study identified a number of differences in symptoms at midlife and depressive symptoms among the three groups. Results support the importance of providing unique care for peri- and postmenopausal women in different health categories. Findings may help healthcare professionals better appreciate the diversity of menopausal experiences and support the development of appropriate care strategies.