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Students’ representations of menopause and perimenopause: Out of control bodies and empathetic expert doctors

Hayfield, Nikki; Campbell, Christine

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Authors

Christine Campbell



Abstract

Representations of peri/menopause are influential in relation to how peri/menopause is understood and how peri/menopausal women are perceived, both of which have important implications for health and wellbeing. In this paper, we report results from a story completion study with 102 undergraduate psychology students. Participants were invited to write a response to a fictional scenario about a peri/menopausal woman. Thematic analysis was used to construct two themes. In the first theme, Women’s bodies out of control, we report how students represented peri/menopausal women’s bodies as unpredictable and uncontrollable. In the second theme, Doctors as empathetic experts: A (biomedical) problem in need of (medical) intervention, we demonstrate how participants wrote stories that portrayed peri/menopause as a medical problem to be easily and effectively resolved by a doctor. These doctors were consistently characterized as empathetic and as experts of peri/menopause. We consider the extent to which these fictional stories might (or might not) map onto women’s lived experiences of peri/menopause by drawing on extant literature. Our results contribute to understandings of how young people represent peri/menopause and peri/menopausal women. These results have implications for educators in ensuring that menopause is included in their curricula, and for health professionals in their practice.

Citation

Hayfield, N., & Campbell, C. (2022). Students’ representations of menopause and perimenopause: Out of control bodies and empathetic expert doctors. Sex Roles, 87, 365–378. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-022-01320-2

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 13, 2022
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Aug 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 14, 2023
Journal Sex Roles
Print ISSN 0360-0025
Electronic ISSN 1573-2762
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 87
Pages 365–378
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-022-01320-2
Keywords Gender; Qualitative Methods; Reproductive Health; Social Issues; Story Completion; Women's Health
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/9853460
Publisher URL https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-022-01320-2

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