Association between perimenopausal age and greater posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in trauma-exposed women

Vasiliki Michopoulos, Megan E. Huibregtse, E. Britton Chahine, Alicia K. Smith, Ida T. Fonkoue, Jessica Maples-Keller, Amy Murphy, Linzie Taylor, Abigail Powers, Jennifer S. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective This study aimed to determine the relationship between stages of the menopause transition (premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal) on symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in trauma-exposed women. Methods A cross-sectional study conducted between 2005 and 2017 recruited and enrolled an urban community sample (n = 6,093) from nonpsychiatric medical clinic waiting rooms of Grady Memorial Hospital, a public safety net hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Participants were female, 18 to 65 years old, and predominantly Black/African American. Results Of the 6,093 participants, 93.8% were Black/African American, 2.5% were White, and 3.8% were of all other races (Hispanic/Latino, Asian, multiracial). Participants younger than 40 years were categorized as premenopausal (n = 3,166), between 40 and 55 years of age were categorized as perimenopausal (n = 2,127), and older than 55 years were categorized as postmenopausal (n = 790). Menopause status was associated with total PTSD symptom severity (F2,5416 = 9.61, P < 0.001), symptom severity within all three PTSD symptom clusters (avoidance/numbing symptoms: F2,5416 = 7.10, P < 0.001; intrusive symptoms: F2,5416 = 7.04, P < 0.001; hyperarousal symptoms: F2,5409 = 8.31, P < 0.001), and depression symptom severity (F2,5148 = 11.4, P < 0.001). Compared with both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, perimenopausal women reported significantly worse total PTSD symptoms, symptoms in the hyperarousal cluster, and depressive symptoms. Conclusions The current cross-sectional data show that symptoms of PTSD and depression in women are associated with reproductive age, such that perimenopausal women show higher symptom severity than premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Future longitudinal studies can reveal how changes in hormones over the course of the menopause transition impact the symptoms, neurobiology, and psychophysiology of PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1038-1044
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Depression
  • Menopause
  • PTSD
  • Trauma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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