We examined longitudinal associations of psychosocial stressors with menopausal symptoms and well-being of women in midlife in a longitudinal cohort.
This study is based on 682 women from Project Viva, a prospective cohort enrolled in 1999 to 2002 during pregnancy (median age = 33.3 y) and followed for almost two decades. In pregnancy, women self-reported psychosocial stressors (history of physical and sexual abuse and financial instability, from childhood to the current pregnancy). In 2017 to 2021 (median age, 51.6 y), they reported their menopausal symptoms (0-44 point scale) and well-being (general health [good/fair/poor vs excellent/very good], generalized anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms [both-more than minimal levels vs none/minimal]). We performed multivariable and logistic regression models to examine associations of psychosocial stressors with outcomes, adjusting for covariates.
History of physical abuse (reported by 37.3%) was associated with worse menopausal symptoms in the somatovegetative (odds ratio [OR], 0.46 points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.04-0.87 points) and psychological (OR, 0.52 points; 95% CI, 0.07-0.97 points) domains and with worse general health (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.17-2.55) and greater depressive symptoms (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.05-2.87). History of sexual abuse (7.7%) was associated with worse menopausal symptoms (OR, 2.81 points; 95% CI, 1.05-4.56) and worse general health (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.04-4.03) but not with depressive symptoms. History of financial instability (10.8%) was associated with worse menopausal symptoms (1.92 points; 0.49 to 3.34), worse general health (OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.24-3.75), and greater depressive symptoms (OR, 2.68; 95% CI, 1.44-4.98). We observed no association between psychosocial stressors and generalized anxiety symptoms assessed at midlife.
Psychosocial stressors were associated with worse menopausal symptoms and well-being decades after initial report.