About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Midlife Surprise: Stress Levels Go Down as Women Age, Despite Menopause

by Thilaka Ravi on April 25, 2018 at 8:18 PM
Font : A-A+

Midlife Surprise: Stress Levels Go Down as Women Age, Despite Menopause

Surprising results from a wide study showed aging was a natural stress reliever for women. Women experienced decreasing stress perceptions and increasing positive outlook during midlife period. Findings of the study are reported in Women's Midlife Health

While some research suggests that midlife is a dissatisfying time for women, other studies show that women report feeling less stressed and enjoy a higher quality of life during this period.

Advertisement


So, which is it? A recent University of Michigan study by Elizabeth Hedgeman, a doctoral graduate of the U-M School of Public Health, and colleagues found that perceived stress decreased in women as they aged.

The study also found that menopausal status wasn't a factor, which challenges the notion that menopause is associated with higher stress and depression.
Advertisement

The results come from data collected from more than 3,000 women who were recruited between the ages of 42-53 for the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

Hedgeman's goal was to assess the effects of age, menopausal status and sociodemographics on stress over time. She did the work while in the lab of Sioban Harlow, professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health.

By the end of the study period, the mean age was 62 and stress declined with age across nearly all sociodemographic categories. Compared to similar black, white and Chinese women, stress decreased in a more attenuated fashion for Japanese women. After adjusting for other sociodemographic variables, race and ethnicity was a significant predictor of increased stress only for Japanese women.

Women with less education and increased financial hardship consistently reported higher levels of stress compared to their peers, but this difference diminished over time.

"The results suggested that even women with less education or more financial hardship reported less perceived stress over the midlife," Hedgeman said. "And then there's menopause.

"Our perception of stress decreased even through the menopausal transition, which suggests that menopause isn't a great bugaboo, perhaps in relation to the other events or experiences that we're having in the midlife."

Education, employment and financial hardship were stronger predictors of perceived stress over midlife than the menopause transition, and this may suggest that women experience the menopausal transition as a series of acute stressors (hot flashes, sleep disturbances) that can be muted by chronic, socioeconomic-based life stressors.

The only groups that reported increased perceived stress over the study were Hispanic and white women from New Jersey, but Hedgeman said these are outlier results that needed to be replicated. Additionally, there were extenuating circumstances at the New Jersey site that may have contributed.

Despite reporting decreased levels of stress throughout life, women who reported higher stress at the start of midlife continued to report higher stress levels than their peers as they aged. This is important because stress is a known health risk.

The study did not specifically examine the reasons for this decrease in perceived stress, but Hedgeman said that there could be both circumstantial and neurological causes--children have moved out, professional goals are being met, or women might have hit a sweet spot before the next life challenges arise, such as chronic health conditions or aging parents.

Existing research also suggests that aging helps us regulate our emotions. "Perhaps things just don't bother us as much as we age, whether due to emotional experience or neurochemical changes. It's all worth exploring," Hedgeman said. Overall, the findings are good news for women transitioning through midlife, she said.

"The neat thing is that for most of us, our perception of stress decreases as we age through the midlife--perhaps life itself is becoming less stressful, or maybe we're finally feeling at the top of our game, or maybe things just don't bother us the way they did," Hedgeman said. "But whatever the root reason, we're reporting less perceived stress as we age through the midlife and menopause."

The primary limitation of the study was the inability to understand perceived stress among women reporting the highest levels over time. Also, a disruption of operations at the New Jersey site, limited the number of visits to five, not 13 as with the other sites. Also, New Jersey was the only site that recruited Hispanic women.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Menopause Hot Flash Vaginitis Palpitations And Arrhythmias Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Stress and the Gender Divide Andropause / Male Menopause Heart Attack- Lifestyle Risks Vaginal Bleeding Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Recommended Reading
Techniques for Stress Relief
Stress is a part of everyday lives. It can be beneficial to an extent, but when it disrupts the ......
Managing Stress during Economic Recession
It is imperative to manage stress during economic recession. Look at the positive side; it is ......
Tension Headache
Tension headache or Stress Headache is the most common type of headache that occurs at any age, and ...
Benefits of Meditation / Meditation Therapy
Meditation therapy is one of the best Alternative Therapies. It is a Mind-Body Medicine....
Andropause / Male Menopause
Andropause or male menopause causing low libido in a man is due to decreasing level of male hormones...
Heart Attack- Lifestyle risks
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Simple guidelines to avoi...
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy can be likened to an ‘oasis in the desert’ for women in the throes of .....
Hot Flash
The frequency of the hot flash can be from 1 to 2 two hot flashes a week to 10 or greater in a day. ...
Menopause
Menopause is defined as the state of permanent cessation of menstrual cycles (periods) for ......
Palpitations And Arrhythmias
Palpitations are unpleasant sensation of one’s own heartbeat....
Stress and the Gender Divide
Stress has become entwined in the current lifestyle of a young working couple and has resulted in th...
Vaginal Bleeding
Normal vaginal bleeding begins in the early teens and goes on till a woman’s mid-life. It is the blo...
Vaginitis
Vaginal infection or vaginitis occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast or trichomoniasis ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use