Date of Award

1992

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Delia McNamara

Second Advisor

Steve Simpson

Third Advisor

Amanda Blackmore

Abstract

Research suggests that women are not well informed about the health related issues which are associated with the menopause. The purpose of this study was to determine women's: current knowledge of the menopause and of the disease osteoporosis; attitudes to estrogen replacement therapy (ERT); frequency of menopausal symptoms; knowledge-seeking behaviours In relation to the menopause; and, open-ended responses to menopausal issues. This study surveyed 70 women who responded to an advertisement in Community Newspapers. Data were collected using a "Knowledge and attitudes to the menopause and health related issues" (KAMHRI) questionnaire. The KAMHRI questionnaire was developed by the researcher and pilot tested with a group of 33 women. The data were statistically analysed using SPSS/PC for the whole group and for demographically related sub-groups of respondents. Findings showed that in general the respondents were well informed about the disease osteoporosis and about the menopausal status. A woman's type of occupation significantly influenced her 'total knowledge score'. Further analysis using Duncan's multiple range test, revealed that sub-groups of type of occupation were significantly different in their achievement of scores of the 'perceived knowledge of menopausal status' construct. The respondents supported the use of ERT to relieve menopausal symptoms and were not as concerned about the risks associated with ERT as identified by other studies. Significant differences were found with attitudes to ERT, based on level of education and when Duncan's comparison between sub-groups was used, significant differences were found between women of different occupations. The frequency of physical and emotional symptoms experienced by the respondents were reported. Findings showed that, respectively, 'muscle and joint pain' and 'fatigue' were the most common physical and emotional symptoms experienced by the respondents. The frequency of physical and emotional symptoms showed significant differences when analysed by sub-groups based on menopausal status, level of education and type of occupation. Even though respondents ranked 'Menopause Clinics' and 'Women's Health Care Clinics' as important when making a decision about osteoporosis prevention, these facilities were not utilized by many of the sample when information was sought. The 'family doctor' remained one of the most important and well used resources of information. The majority of respondents reacted to the open-ended questions with vigour. The answers supported the data gained from the KAMHRI questionnaire and highlighted areas of importance. Specific areas of concern were the occurrence of symptoms other than those listed; the need for more information about the menopause, osteoporosis and EAT in general; and the need for health professionals to assist and guide women before, during and after this major life change. Findings of this research Indicate that this sample of women reported the need for specific health services, information and professional guidance to assist them in making informed decisions at the time of the menopause. In the future, research could ascertain the efficacy of implementing health education programs designed to target the needs of women entering their menopausal years.

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