ORIGINAL PAPER
Quality of the relationship and menopausal symptoms of menopausal women
 
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Institute of Psychology, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
Submission date: 2016-02-14
Acceptance date: 2016-04-19
Online publication date: 2016-10-10
Publication date: 2016-10-07
 
Health Psychology Report 2017;5(1):55–66
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence and intensity of menopausal symptoms, taking into account the length of one’s relationship, its nature and one’s assessment of it.
Participants and procedure
The study included 200 women between the ages of 45 and 68, with secondary or higher education, married or in cohabiting relationships. Women were divided into three groups depending on the experience related to menopause: premenopause (46 respondents), perimenopause (75 respondents), and postmenopause (79 respondents). The study used a survey of self-design, the “Women’s Health” Questionnaire (WHQ) by M. Hunter, and the “Partner Relations Questionnaire” (PFB) by K. Hahlweg.
Results
Most menopausal symptoms – including those of the greatest severity – are experienced by women in perimenopausal and postmenopausal phases, but one’s own relationship’s assessment is the lowest in postmenopausal women. In this group of women, relevant and significant relations between the dimensions of the quality of the relationship and the menopausal symptoms are the most numerous. The most essential assessment was the one relating to intimacy – its poor evaluation is accompanied by higher intensity of experienced depression symptoms, somatic symptoms, and disorders of memory and concentration, sex and sleep, and also the sum of menopausal symptoms is higher. In all three groups, no significant differences in the severity of menopausal symptoms were observed between women in marital and cohabiting relationships. In women in the perimenopausal phase, the shorter the length of the relationship (its seniority), the greater is the severity of sexual dysfunction symptoms, whereas in women in the postmenopausal stage, along with the length of the relationship, the severity of psychological and somatic symptoms increases.
Conclusions
One should find that the perimenopausal and postmenopausal phases are particularly difficult for women, meaning that the intensity of menopausal symptoms is the greatest during them. The assessment of one’s relationship’s quality is relevant for the menopausal symptoms experienced. Women who perceive their relationship as more intimate report less severe menopausal symptoms. The type of relationship does not differentiate women with regards to their experience associated with menopause. Both shorter and longer seniority of the relationship may constitute a risk factor triggering an increase of the severity of menopausal symptoms.
 
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