University of Pennsylvania Study Examines the Risk of Depression During and After Menopause

Previous research has shown that women approaching menopause are at a heightened risk for depression. But a new study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that the risk for depression drops for women after they have had their final menstrual period. The study found that the final menstrual period is pivotal in the overall pattern of decreasing the risk of depressive symptoms in middle-aged women.

freemanEllen Freeman, research professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the lead author of the study, states, “Some women begin to experience depressive symptoms as they approach menopause and, although only a small percentage experience difficulty or changes in mood around that time, it’s important that health care providers be able to tell their patients what to expect. What this study shows is that in general, women can expect the risk of depressive symptoms to decrease in the second year after their final menstrual period.”

However, the study also found that among women with a history of depression, the likelihood of continued symptoms of depression was 13 times higher overall and 8 times higher after menopause compared to women with no history of depression.

Professor Freeman is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in history. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in social research from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry and may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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