There is little current research on the transition to natural menopause among contemporary groups of mid-life women at age 40 years.
This study reports on female members of the Christchurch Health and Development Study cohort. This research aimed to: document the menopause status, reproductive outcomes and climacteric symptoms of the women at age 40 years; examine the associations between menopause status and concurrent measures of psychosocial and economic well-being; and document the associations between menopause status and potential predictors of menopause reflecting childhood, family and individual factors prior to age 40 years.
The Christchurch Health and Development Study is a longitudinal, representative, prospective cohort of 1265 babies (630 females) born in New Zealand in 1977. At age 40 years, 470 women (who had not experienced surgical menopause) were interviewed on their menopause status, climacteric symptoms and associated factors.
The majority of women were premenopausal, around 20% were perimenopausal and 2% were postmenopausal. Statistically significant associations were found reflecting higher rates of diagnosed reproductive disorder, climacteric symptoms, low occupational status, non-heterosexual sexuality and exposure to childhood sexual abuse amongst both perimenopausal and postmenopausal women at age 40 years.
These data will inform directions for future data collection and analyses.