Impact of menopausal status on negative mood and depressive symptoms in a longitudinal sample spanning 20 years

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Abstract

Objective:

Studies examining depressive symptoms and negative mood across the postmenopause are lacking, particularly those that examine prevalence in early and late postmenopause. This study examines negative mood and depressive occurrence in the menopausal stages to provide a better understanding of prevalence of mood disturbance during this period.

Methods:

This study was a longitudinal assessment of variables drawn from an epidemiological prospective study of women's healthy aging. Scores were analyzed using general linear mixed models to determine whether there were reductions in negative mood across the stages of the menopausal transition, including the substages of the early and late postmenopause, as defined by Stages of Reproductive Ageing Workshop+10 criteria. Negative mood scores, derived from the Affectometer 2, were obtained at 11 time points between 1992 and 2012 in a group of 438 Melbourne-based, community-dwelling women aged between 45 and 55 years at baseline (n = 234; 53% retention in 2012). Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale administered at three time points for 10 years.

Results:

Women's experience of negative mood and depressive symptoms was highest during the menopausal transition and lowest in the late postmenopause. Increasing age was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms F(1,559) = 14.83, P < 0.001 and negative mood F(1,935) = 14.97, P < 0.001. When controlling for age, there was no difference found between the early and late postmenopause stage mean scores.

Conclusions:

Although there were differences found between negative mood and depressive symptom scores in relation to categories of reproductive aging, age was found to be the driving influence to their association.

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