Life Satisfaction, Symptoms, and the Menopausal Transition

Lorraine Dennerstein, AO, MBBS, PhD, FRANZCP, DPM; Emma Dudley, BSc, Grad Dip Epidemiol; Janet Guthrie, MSc, PhD, Dip Ed; and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD

In This Article


The 395 women were between the ages of 50 and 61 years (mean 54.6 years) when the Life Satisfaction questionnaires were administered (year 6). The menopausal status of the women was as follows: premenopausal, 9%; early perimenopausal, 11%; late perimenopausal, 9%; postmenopausal, 38%; HRT users, 25%; and surgical menopause, 8%. Seventy-nine percent were married or living with a partner, and 67% had paid employment. The median parity was 3 (range 1-4), and 56% of the women had at least 1 child in the home.

The proportion of women reporting a "positive" response to each of the LSI-Z items is reported in Table 1. In 10 of the 13 items, a positive response was reported by the majority of women. Responses to the 5 SWLS items are shown in Table 2. The responses are again overwhelmingly positive.

The LSI-Z and SWLS scales are highly correlated (r = 0.70; P < .0001). Highly significant correlations were also found between these scales and the well-being total score, the positive and negative mood subscales, and satisfaction with day-to-day activities. Correlation with work satisfaction was substantially lower but still significant (see Table 3).

Life satisfaction, as measured by both LSI-Z and SWLS, was positively associated with exercise, self-rated health, presence of a sexual partner, positive feelings for partner, and sexual functioning (frequency of sexual activities, arousal, total score). Life satisfaction was negatively associated with symptoms (number and type), current smoking, interpersonal stress, and daily hassles. Being widowed, divorced, or separated was associated with decreased life satisfaction.

Higher life satisfaction at year 6 was predicted by increased years of education at baseline and by positive attitudes toward aging and menopause.

LSI-Z and SWLS were not related to menopausal status, hormone levels (FSH, E2), age, BMI, hot flushes, HRT, sexual interest, employment status, type of profession, children at home, alcohol, chronic conditions, surgery, premenstrual complaints, life events (major or secondary), and social support.

The estimates and their standard errors (se) from the final models are presented in Table 3. LSI-Z was positively predicted by prior attitudes toward menopause (beta = 3.777, se = 0.912) and positively associated with feelings for partner (beta = 0.827, se = 0.336), and exercise (beta = 0.317, se = 0.129). LSI-Z was negatively associated with hassles (beta = -0.331, se = 0.067), interpersonal stress (beta = -0.424, se = 0.174 ), and dysphoric symptoms (beta = -0.804, se = 0.361). SWLS was positively predicted by prior attitudes to aging (beta = 3.918, se = 1.061) and positively associated with feelings for partner (beta = 1.611, se = 0.382). SWLS was negatively associated with hassles (beta = -0.421, se = 0.075), dysphoric symptoms (beta = -1.167, se = 0.418), and current smoking (beta = -1.785, se = 0.834).


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