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Keywords:

  • Menopause;
  • climacteric;
  • mental disorder;
  • social factors;
  • population study;
  • longitudinal study

Abstract. A representative sample of 899 middle-aged urban Swedish women underwent a psychiatric interview on two occasions with 6 years between studies (waves). The point prevalence of all mental disorders was 39.9% at the first wave and 39.0% at the second. The corresponding one-year onset rates of all mental disorders were 18.0% and 14.2%. No significant differences were found between ages or between waves. Major depressive episodes accounted for about half of the psychiatric morbidity. Those women whose menopause started early were more often mentally impaired than others and they also tended to have been more often impaired even before the climacteric (ages 30-39).

Menopause was not associated with any onset risk of mental disorder, but a relationship was found between this rate and the weighted sum of other life events. The latter association remained significant even when correction was made for age, social class and marital status. Divorced and the childless women ran an increased risk of developing a mental disorder with functional impairment in the 6-year period between the waves. Women from the lower social classes evidenced an increased risk of contracting some mental disorder during the same period.