Methods used in cross-cultural comparisons of vasomotor symptoms and their determinants

Melby, Melissa K., Anderson, Debra J., Sievert, Lynnette Leidy, & Obermeyer, Carla Makhlouf (2011) Methods used in cross-cultural comparisons of vasomotor symptoms and their determinants. Maturitas, 70(2), pp. 110-119.

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Methodological differences among studies of vasomotor symptoms limit rigorous comparison or systematic review. Vasomotor symptoms generally include hot flushes and night sweats although other associated symptoms exist. Prevalence rates vary between and within populations, but different studies collect data on frequency, bothersomeness, and/or severity using different outcome measures and scales, making comparisons difficult.

We reviewed only cross-cultural studies of menopausal symptoms that explicitly examined symptoms in general populations of women in different countries or different ethnic groups in the same country. This resulted in the inclusion of nine studies: Australian/Japanese Midlife Women's Health Study (AJMWHS), Decisions At Menopause Study (DAMeS), Four Major Ethnic Groups (FMEG), Hilo Women's Health Survey (HWHS), Mid-Aged Health in Women from the Indian Subcontinent (MAHWIS), Penn Ovarian Aging Study (POAS), Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), Women's Health in Midlife National Study (WHiMNS), and Women's International Study of Health and Sexuality (WISHeS). These studies highlight the methodological challenges involved in conducting multi-population studies, particularly when languages differ, but also highlight the importance of performing multivariate and factor analyses.

Significant cultural differences in one or more vasomotor symptoms were observed in 8 of 9 studies, and symptoms were influenced by the following determinants: menopausal status, hormones (and variance), age (or actually, the square of age, age2), BMI, depression, anxiety, poor physical health, perceived stress, lifestyle factors (hormone therapy use, smoking and exposure to passive smoke), and acculturation (in immigrant populations). Recommendations are made to improve methodological rigor and facilitate comparisons in future cross-cultural menopause studies.

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20 citations in Scopus
19 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 47232
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Menopause, Cross-cultural , Methodology, Symptom reporting, Vasomotor symptoms, Hot flushes
DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.07.010
ISSN: 0378-5122
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Maturitas. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published Maturitas Volume 70, Issue 2, October 2011, Pages 110-119
Deposited On: 24 Nov 2011 23:21
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2013 16:36

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