Colette Matarese, PhD
“Navigating the Journey to Menses-Cessation: A Study of Change in an Emancipatory Context”
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to uncover women’s perceptions of what it is like to be a midlife perimenopausal woman today, specifically addressing the following areas: (1) Exploration of women’s perceptions of the experience of the menopausal process within the western industrialized culture. (2) Description and synthesis of the processes which are utilized by women to evaluate the information available to them. (3) Exploration and facilitation of the processes used by women to envision and create change in their life-world as they progress along their journey to menses-cessation. An emancipatory design was used. A focus group of midlife women, who self identified as being in the perimenopausal process, were recruited and met weekly for a period of eight weeks. These women worked in rural and urban areas of New England. All participants in the groups were engaged as co-investigators. Data analysis occurred within the context of the group. The women in this study identified the journey to menses-cessation as a time of changes within their internal and external lives. A process used by the women to access and decipher educational resources was uncovered. Finally, through the process the women envisioned a strategy of dialoging with younger women to initiate ongoing change within their personal spheres. They further planned this strategy and implemented it. Results from this study have the potential to provide insight into the menopausal transition and women’s decision-making process, which will be beneficial to women experiencing this developmental process and to nurses in guiding their practice with these women.