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The Timing and Experience of Menopause among British Pakistani Women in Bradford and Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

BLELL, MWENZA,THANDIWE (2009) The Timing and Experience of Menopause among British Pakistani Women in Bradford and Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Previous studies have shown considerable differences at both the population and individual levels in the timing of menopause and the experience of physical and emotional changes related to menopause (generally called symptoms). Attempts to understand this variation have not found a consistent pattern, suggesting that the existing approaches to the study of menopause may have failed to capture some of the complexity of the phenomenon. Previous research on British Pakistanis has not included in-depth study of menopause. The present study has sought to demonstrate that a biosocial research design can improve our understanding of the menopause transition both among British Pakistanis and more generally.
This study used a range of methods including semi-structured questionnaire-based interviews and anthropometrics (n=257), life history interviews (n=19), and daily participant observation among middle-aged British Pakistani women in the Leeds/Bradford area of West Yorkshire. Statistical procedures were used on the quantitative data using SPSS 15; qualitative data were analysed using a thematic coding system and NVivo software.
This study found that British Pakistani women of a higher occupational social class were more likely to experience hot flushes than women from lower social classes and women who perceive themselves to be of higher status were more likely to have an earlier menopause than their lower status counterparts. Women from the Choudhary Jatt biradari (a caste-related kinship group) were more likely to have a later menopause and were less likely to experience hot flushes than women from other biradaris. Levels of reported anxiety and acculturation were both positively associated with hot flush severity. Women reported a wide range of changes due to menopause and attributed changes to menopause that previous researchers considered to be unrelated to menopause. Attribution of symptoms to menopause was associated with menopausal status, age, and migration status. Women interpreted some items from a standard checklist in ways other than intended by the checklist‘s developers, based on local ideas about menopause. British Pakistani women‘s understandings and perceptions of menopause are intimately linked with their understandings of Islam, sexuality, menstruation, and ageing, as well as their ethnic identity and notions of purity and modesty. Social issues like acculturation, social support, kinship networks, class, and the history of tensions between Pakistanis and the wider society appear to be very important to consider in understanding menopause among British Pakistani women. Social issues such as these may play a role in influencing both the timing and the experience of menopause among women in other groups and thus should be considered in future studies.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:menopause, anthropology, climacteric, ageing, women, Pakistani, Islam, ethnic minority, biosocial, mixed methods, Bradford, Leeds, Britain
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Jun 2010 13:07

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