Therapeutic Decisions at Menopause: A Multisite Study

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Principal Investigator:
Carla Obermeyer

Department of Global Health and Population

Dates of Research:
September 30, 2000 — August 31, 2008


This project combines anthropological and epidemiological approaches to investigate the determinants of therapeutic decisions around the menopause transition. It is designed to make systematic comparisons across four countries that differ in terms of sociocultural and health service factors known to influence the symptomatology of menopause, the meaning attached to it, and the medical and non-medical alternatives available to cope with this life transition. The study is based on surveys and interviews with physicians and with representative samples of women aged 45-55 in each of the study sites. It combines quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze the symptomatology of menopause, the determinants of women’s use of conventional medical and alternative therapies, the factors that influence the prescribing practices of providers, and those that account for the therapeutic decisions made by women. The long-term objectives of the research is to contribute to the formulation of appropriate policies regarding the management of menopause by providing evidence on the diversity of therapeutic choices, elucidating the reasons for their variations within and across countries, and clarifying the complex process of decision making for women and physicians.