Doctor of Philosophy
Nancy Jallo, Ph.D., RNC, FNP-BC, WHNP-BC, CNS
Beth Rodgers, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Patricia Kinser, Ph.D., RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP
Natalie Dautovich, Ph.D.
Background: Anxiety is one of the mood symptoms experienced by menopausal women; however, anxiety symptoms during menopause have received little attention in the literature despite the potential impact on quality of life. Many of the tools used to evaluate and measure anxiety associated with menopause assume that menopausal anxiety shares similar criteria as anxiety disorders and this may not be entirely true. There are very few studies that have assessed anxiety in the context of menopause leaving the concept of menopausal anxiety not well defined and raising the question: Is menopausal anxiety a unique and distinctly different syndrome? The purpose of this study was to explore and gain an in-depth understanding of the experience of anxiety in menopausal women.
Methods: Twenty menopausal women were recruited for this qualitative study to explore the experience of anxiety in menopause. Through the use of a semi-structured interview using open-ended questions, participants were asked to share their experience with anxiety that was new or different with the onset of menopause. Interviews were audio recorded by the researcher and lasted approximately 30 - 60 minutes. Participants described their experience with anxiety and discussed how the anxiety is different in menopause.
Results: Emergent themes revealed that anxiety in menopause is a unique and individual experience. The substantial variation in the onset, timing and severity of the symptoms made it impossible to construct a uniform and consistent definition of the experience. Participants discussed their preferences for management which included non-pharmacologic, lifestyle, relaxation based interventions.
Conclusions: This research supports the existence of a unique and individualized experience of anxiety in menopause. A better understanding of the experience and patient preferences will assist healthcare providers in developing individualized treatment options aimed at improving quality of life.
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