USC leads global study into menopause

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USC leads global study into menopause


22 February 2012

22 February 2012

International research into the effect of menopause on women and their work is being undertaken at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Hundreds of women aged between 40 and 65 are participating in the study being conducted across Australia, England, Spain, Austria, Holland, South Africa, Trinidad and the United States.

USC Lecturer in Psychology Dr Prudence Millear said there was currently very little data available on women’s menopausal experiences while employed.

“Once upon a time, women going through menopause would have just faded out of the workforce,” she said.

“But now we have large numbers of women who are still employed in their fifties and are experiencing symptoms while at work.”

Dr Millear said findings from the research, which is being conducted in conjunction with Dr Roxane Gervais of the Health and Safety Laboratory in the United Kingdom, could be used by employers in the area of occupational health and safety.

“If a woman is having a hot flush, under normal circumstances she may be able to change her environment so that she becomes cooler,” Dr Millear explained.

“But if a woman is teaching, or in the middle of a meeting, she often can’t just stop what she is doing. So we want to know how women are managing their symptoms in these kinds of situations.”

Dr Millear said survey participants fell into three categories; women who had not yet experienced menopausal symptoms (pre-), women in the middle of menopause (peri-), and women who were past menopause (post-).

“We are asking participants for answers on the type of work they do, their working conditions, the severity of their symptoms, are they able to change their workplace in response to the symptoms, and how do colleagues respond to them,” she said.

Dr Millear said she planned to deliver research findings at the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology conference in Switzerland in April.

For more information about the survey, or to participate, email Dr Millear at or go to the online survey.

— Terry Walsh

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