Study Confirms Significant Risk for Depression Among Postmenopausal Women

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Lifestyle factors and health status affect the incidence of depression in postmenopausal women, according to cross-sectional study results.

Lifestyle factors and health status significantly affect the incidence of depression in postmenopausal women, according to the results of a cross-sectional study published in Menopause.

Women (N=485) aged 35 to 78 years were recruited between March and September 2018 in Sakarya, Turkey. Participants responded to a questionnaire about sociodemographic and health factors and were assessed by the Beck Depression Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Templer Death Anxiety Scale.

The mean age of the participants was 56.33±7.34 years. Most women (97.5%) reported entering menopause naturally. A total of 41.0% of the participants reported experiencing a depressive state, and nearly a quarter (21.0%) reported smoking, 2.7% consumed alcohol, and 28.0% were obese.

Important risk factors for depression were alcohol consumption (odds ratio [OR], 11.772; 95% CI, 2.237-61.953; P =.004), having a history of mental disorders (OR, 4,213; 95% CI, 2.113-8.400; P =.000), having 4 or more living children (OR, 4.174; 95% CI, 1.740-10.015; P =.001), needing continuous medication (OR, 3.58; 95% CI, 2.122-6.036; P =.000), being a widow or separated (OR, 3.478; 95% CI, 1.882-6.429; P =.000), and having any physical disability (OR, 2.242; 95% CI, 1.373-3.660; P =.001).

Scores for the Beck Depression Scale (average score, 16.15±7.72 points) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (average score, 10.33±7.72 points) were correlated (r =0.467; P =.001).

According to the Templer Death Anxiety Scale (average score, 8.81±1.86 points), depression status did not alter fear of death (z=1.467; P =.142).

A limitation of this study was the recruitment process of participants. Only women who were treated at a hospital were asked to participate. It remains unclear whether women who had not been hospitalized had similar instances of depression, and the investigators speculated whether their recruitment process may be responsible for the cohort’s low rate of depression (41%) when compared with previous studies, which have reported rates of 70% in similar populations.

The study authors concluded that depression among postmenopausal women is a significant health problem that requires further studying. Awareness of depression rates and risk factors among this patient population remain important for screening and diagnosis of depression during this important transitional stage of life.


Ozdemir K, Sahin S, Guler DS, Unsal A, Akdemir N. Depression, anxiety, and fear of death in postmenopausal women [published online June 29, 2020]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000001578