Psychosomatic Medicine

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Psychosomatic Medicine:
Original Articles

Attitudes Toward Menopause and Aging Across Ethnic/Racial Groups

Sommer, Barbara PhD; Avis, Nancy PhD; Meyer, Peter PhD; Ory, Marcia PhD; Madden, Tom MD; Kagawa-Singer, Marjorie PhD; Mouton, Charles MD; Rasor, Niki O’Neill MA; Adler, Shelley PhD

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Objective: Attitudes have a potential role to play in the experience of menopause. The objective of this study was to examine the degree to which attitudes toward menopause and aging vary across ethnic groups and menopausal status (ie, premenopausal through postmenopausal).

Methods: More than 16,000 women were interviewed by telephone as part of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. They represented five ethnic/racial groups (African American, white, Chinese American, Japanese American, and Hispanic) from seven geographical sites (Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; Michigan; New Jersey; and northern and southern California).

Results: African American women were significantly more positive in attitude. The least positive groups were the less acculturated Chinese American and Japanese American women. Menopausal status was not a consistent predictor of attitude across ethnic groups.

Conclusions: In general, women’s attitudes toward menopause range from neutral to positive. Ethnic groups within the United States vary slightly, but reliably, in their attitudes toward menopause and aging. Factors other than those directly associated with menopausal status seem to play a role in attitude.

Copyright © 1999 by American Psychosomatic Society

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