The Effects of Depression and Coping Strategies on Quality of Life in Postmenopausal Women with MDD

J. Poskus, MA

Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The Effects of Depression and Coping Strategies on Quality of Life in Postmenopausal Women with MDD

Scientific Abstract

Background: Patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) tend to exhibit more maladaptive coping mechanisms, defined as cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage stressful demands. Poor coping in MDD could lead to a more severe course of illness, as well as have an impact on their experience of aging.

Methods: 52 postmenopausal adult women with MDD were administered the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life (MENQoL) Questionnaire, which measures severity of menopausal symptoms (vasomotor, psychosocial, physical, and sexual). The MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) was to assay cognitive functioning. Participants also completed the Brief-COPE scale (BCOPE) to measure their habitual use of a variety of coping mechanisms, which are determined to be either adaptive or maladaptive. We tested two linear regression models: one to examine whether more severe menopausal symptoms on the MENQOL were associated with worse cognitive performance. The second model examined the effects of current depressive symptoms and the use of maladaptive coping strategies on distress associated with menopausal symptoms.

Results: Patients with more depressive symptomology tended to exhibit more menopausal symptoms (p<0.05).While the overall omnibus test for cognition was non-signficant (F(6,19)=1.5, p-value=0.2), we observed a significant, effect of menstrual symptom severity on one measure from the MCCB, Speed of Processing (β= 0.3,p=0.04). Likewise, although we did not find a significant model for the second linear regression (F(5,17)=1.8, p=0.17), we did observe a significant effect of maladaptive coping on total MENQoL score (β=0.5,p=0.03). MDD women with more adaptive coping styles performed better in the Attention Vigilance and Social Cognition domains of the MCCB(p<0.05). No significant difference was found for total MCCB score.

Conclusion: As the menopausal transition places women at risk for depression and cognitive decline, this is a critical window to study, particularly in those with a recurrent mood disorder. Our results are still preliminary as the sample size is limited (study is ongoing). These findings do suggest, at least some aspects of cognitive are influence by menopausal symptoms and that the use of maladaptive coping strategies contributes to lower quality of life.

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research Areas


J. Poskus, MA, C.E. Millett, PhD, M. Shanahan, MPH, KE. Burdick, PhD

Principal Investigator

KE. Burdick, PhD

Affiliated Website