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Depressive Symptoms, Menopausal Status, and Climacteric Symptoms in Women at Midlife

Bosworth, Hayden B. PhD; Bastian, Lori A. MD, MPH; Kuchibhatla, Maggie N. PhD; Steffens, David C. MD; McBride, Colleen M. PhD; Sugg Skinner, Celette PhD; Rimer, Barbara K. DrPH; Siegler, Ilene C. PhD, MPH

Original Articles

Objective: Previous studies have found increased rates of depression in women aged 45 to 54 years, but the factors that influence these rates are not understood. It was assessed whether higher rates of depressive symptoms were associated with menopausal status, climacteric symptoms, and use of hormone replacement therapy.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Community sample.

Methods: Data are from 581 women ages 45 to 54 years who were interviewed by telephone between October 1998 and February 1999.

Measures: Depression was measured with the abbreviated CES-D, a depressive symptoms screening measure. Women’s reported perception of menopausal stage, frequency of periods in the preceding 12 months, and history of oophorectomy were used to classify their menopausal status into four categories: (1) no indication of menopause; (2) close to menopause; (3) had begun menopause; and (4) had completed menopause.

Results: There were 168 women (28.9%) who reported a high level (≥10) of depressive symptoms when the abbreviated CES-D was used. In a logistic-regression analysis, significant factors associated with increased depressive symptoms included physical inactivity, inadequate income, use of estrogen/progesterone combination, and presence of climacteric symptoms (trouble sleeping, mood swings, or memory problems). Menopausal status was not associated with depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: In this sample of women age 45 to 54 years, climacteric symptoms but not menopausal status were associated with higher rates of depressive symptoms.

From the Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, (H.B.B. and L.A.B.); Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, (H.B.B., D.C.S., and I.C.S.); Center for Aging and Human Development (H.B.B., L.A.B., and I.C.S.); and Cancer Prevention, Detection, and Control Research Program, Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Community and Family Medicine (M.N.K., C.M.M., C.S.S., and B.K.R.), Duke University; Health Services Research and Development, Durham VAMC (H.B.B. and L.A.B.), Durham, North Carolina; and Division of Cancer Control and Population Studies, National Cancer Institute (B.K.R.), Bethesda, Maryland.

Address reprint requests to: Hayden B. Bosworth, VAMC (152), 508 Fulton St., Durham NC 27707. Email: hboswort@acpub.

Received for publication June 16, 2000; revision received November 15, 2000.

Copyright © 2001 by American Psychosomatic Society
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