Personality, menopausal symptoms, and physical activity outcomes in middle-aged women

The present study examined the contribution of personality factors to the reporting of menopausal symptoms in the context of a 4-month randomized controlled exercise trial

Steriani Elavsky; Edward McAuley


Scholarcy highlights

  • Ovarian aging and hormonal changes have been consistently linked to vasomotor symptoms, such as, hot flashes, night sweats, and some urogenital symptoms
  • We hypothesized that higher levels of neuroticism, trait anxiety, and pessimism would be associated with more menopausal symptoms and optimism with fewer symptom reports in all categories and that these associations would remain significant after improvements in physical parameters across the intervention are accounted for
  • There is considerable interest in understanding which factors contribute to individual differences in the reporting of menopausal symptoms
  • The present study examined associations among selected personality dispositions and multiple dimensions of menopausal symptoms in middle-aged women who participated in a 4-month randomized controlled trial of walking and yoga
  • The study demonstrated that individual differences in the reporting of symptoms may be partially explained by personality characteristics such as trait anxiety and optimism but modifiable factors such as fitness play a role
  • Patterns of relationships differed by symptom category and across time, with trait anxiety as the only personality characteristic which explained unique variance in residual changes in psychological symptoms and optimism as the only trait accounting for changes in vasomotor symptoms across the trial
  • Examinations of the impact of other chronic exercise adaptations such as weight loss or reduced body fat are needed in light of recent studies indicating that overweight and obese women are more likely to report vasomotor symptoms as compared to their normal weight counterparts

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