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The unique symptom profile of perimenopausal depression

Perimenopause is associated with increased depression symptoms in women. Symptoms at this time are thought to be qualitatively different from those in childbearing years, and to present with milder symptoms of depression, increased agitation, and fatigue. This research aimed to determine whether depressive symptoms during perimenopause can be distinguished from those in the childbearing years.

Seventy-four depressed women who were either perimenopausal (n = 40) or in their childbearing years (n = 34) were recruited (M = 40.11; SD = 11 years). Participants completed a series of questionnaires relating to depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II), various mood states (Profile of Mood States), and changes in sleep patterns.

Univariate relationships between symptoms and perimenopausal status were assessed. All significant variables (anger-hostility, depression, tension-anxiety, fatigue-inertia, and changes in sleep quality) were analysed via logistic regression. Mood profile at these two different life stages were differentiated based on lower levels of depression symptoms and tension-anxiety, and increased levels of anger-hostility, fatigue-inertia, and sleep disturbance in the perimenopausal women as compared with the childbearing group.

This research supports the unique presentation of perimenopausal depression. The identification of a unique symptomatic profile provides targets for intervention and allows for different treatment options.


Gibbs Z, Lee S, and Kulkarni J. The unique symptom profile of perimenopausal depression. Clinical Psychologist, 2014 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cp.12035


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