Predictors of mental health in post-menopausal women: results from the Australian healthy aging of women study.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the extent to which socio-demographics, modifiable lifestyle, and physical health status influence the mental health of post-menopausal Australian women. METHODS: Cross-sectional data on health status, chronic disease and modifiable lifestyle factors were collected from a random cross-section of 340 women aged 60-70 years, residing in Queensland, Australia. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to measure the effect of a range of socio-demographic characteristics, modifiable lifestyle factors, and health markers (self-reported physical health, history of chronic illness) on the latent construct of mental health status. Mental health was evaluated using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 12 (SF-12(®)) and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). RESULTS: The model was a good fit for the data (χ(2)=4.582, df=3, p=0.205) suggesting that mental health is negatively correlated with sleep disturbance (β=-0.612, p<0.001), and a history of depression (β=-0.141, p=0.024).While mental health was associated with poor sleep, it was not correlated with most lifestyle factors (BMI, alcohol consumption, or cigarette smoking) or socio-demographics like age, income or employment category and they were removed from the final model. CONCLUSION: Research suggests that it is important to engage in a range of health promoting behaviors to preserve good health. We found that predictors of current mental health status included sleep disturbance, and past mental health problems, while socio-demographics and modifiable lifestyle had little impact. It may be however, that these factors influenced other variables associated with the mental health of post-menopausal women, and these relationships warrant further investigation.
Seib, C; Anderson, D; Lee, K; Humphreys, J
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