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A cross-cultural comparison of climacteric symptoms, self-esteem, and perceived social support between Mosuo women and Han Chinese women

Zhang, Ying MA; Zhao, Xudong MD; Leonhart, Rainer PhD; Nadig, Maya PhD; Hasenburg, Annette MD; Wirsching, Michael MD; Fritzsche, Kurt MD

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000621
Original Articles

Objective: This cross-cultural study aimed to compare climacteric symptoms, self-esteem, and perceived social support between Mosuo and Han Chinese women, and to explore the interaction between culture and climacteric symptoms. Mosuo is a Chinese minority group with a matriarchal structure, and Han Chinese is the majority ethnic group in China with a patriarchal structure.

Methods: Through convenience sampling, 54 Mosuo women and 52 Han Chinese women between 40 and 60 years of age completed the sociodemographic questionnaire, the Menopause Rating Scale, the Self-Esteem Scale, and the Perceived Social Support Scale.

Results: Compared with Han Chinese women, Mosuo women scored lower on the psychological (P < 0.001) and the somato-vegetative (P = 0.047) subscales of the Menopause Rating Scale, but higher on the Self-Esteem Scale (P = 0.006) and the “support from family” subscale of the Perceived Social Support Scale (P = 0.004). Multiple linear regressions indicated that minority ethnicity (β = 0.207, P = 0.016) was one of the predictive variables of psychological symptoms severity. Referring to the severity of all symptoms, predictive variables were: perceived support from family (β = −0.210, P = 0.017); self-esteem (β = 0.320, P < 0.001); previous history of premenstrual syndrome (β = 0.293, P < 0.001); number of family members (β = −0.229, P = 0.003); and family income (β = −0.173, P = 0.028).

Conclusions: Differences in climacteric symptoms were found between two groups. Cultural variables such as familial structure, women's self-esteem, and perceived social support were correlated with symptomatology.

1Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

2Shanghai East Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

3Institute of Psychology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

4Institute of Anthropology and Cultural Science, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany

5Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Address correspondence to: Ying Zhang, MA, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Freiburg, Hauptstr. 8, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany. E-mail:

Received 5 July, 2015

Revised 22 December, 2015

Accepted 30 December, 2015

Y.Z. and X.Z. are joint first authors.

Funding/support: The travel cost for the data collection was supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Grant number 1010017102; and Chinese National Key Technologies R&D Program (of Ministry of Sciences & Technology), No. 2009BAI77B05.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

© 2016 by The North American Menopause Society.