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Experiencing menopause in the UK: The interrelated narratives of normality, distress, and transformation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Early online date2 Nov 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 2 Nov 2017


We investigated the experience and perspectives of menopause among 48 UK mothers through qualitative in-depth interviews. Interviews were analyzed thematically then explored using social science theories. Three interdependent narratives emerged: menopause as a normal, biological process, distinct from self and social transitions; menopause as struggle, an “idiom of distress” expressing upset, identity loss, shame, and social upheaval; and menopause as transformative and liberating, arising from biopsychic and relational changes. Some women followed a predictable “rite of passage” trajectory with transformation emerging from distress, but not all: Menopause arises from a complex interplay of personal predicament, somatic change, and sociocultural context.

    Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research

    Research areas

  • Idiom of distress, in-depth interviews, menopause, qualitative research, rite of passage, transformation, UK, women’s health

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