The menopausal transition is a critical phase for psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety, with prevalence rates of depression ranging up to 20% during the menopause. Nevertheless, the majority of women cope adequately with this reproductive transition phase and thus appear to be resilient. We assert that a variety of psychological factors influence the menopausal transition and result in an individual state on a continuum from successful adjustment to maladjustment. The purpose of this review is to offer a conceptual framework of resilience factors during the menopausal transition and to reveal which dimensions of resilience have already been verified for a healthy menopausal transition.
We searched the databases PubMed and PsycINFO for studies investigating resilience factors during the menopausal transition which influence psychological and physical adjustment or maladjustment. A total of 23 articles were included.
Altogether, we identified 15 different resilience factors, assessed with 23 different questionnaires. These factors can be grouped into six categories: core resilience, spirituality, control, optimism, emotion and self-related resilience. They are associated with a better adjustment to menopausal symptoms, milder physical symptoms, a better quality of and satisfaction with life, better well-being, less perceived stress and fewer depressive symptoms compared with women with lower levels of the respective resilience factors.
Our conceptual framework includes resilience factors which have already been verified by empirical data. Further research is needed to determine whether these resilience factors can be assigned to a common factor and to incorporate biological resilience markers.