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Depression and Job Stress Linked to Onset of Menopause

Having job control may influence menses of depressed women differently

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Job stress is associated with the age at which women reach menopause, and women who are depressed appear to be influenced by different types of job stress than women who are not depressed, according to the results of a prospective population study published Aug. 15 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Bernard Cassou, M.D., of Hopital Sainte Perine in Paris, France, and colleagues analyzed data from a longitudinal study of 1,594 postmenopausal women, all born in 1938, whose median age at menopause was 52. Of the women whose cessation of menses occurred naturally (not due to medical causes), 83.2 percent reported menopause between 45 and 55 years, 7.5 percent before 45 years, and 9.3 percent after 55 years.

Among women with no history of depression, earlier menopause was significantly associated with high-strain jobs (combined high work demands and low job control) and difficult schedules. Among women with a history of depression, earlier menopause was significantly associated with job control.

"Our results suggest that some job stressors, including high job strain, difficult schedules, and perhaps repetitive work, could change the onset of natural menopause," the authors conclude. "Clarifying the basis for these associations requires further study."

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