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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Menopause as metamorphosis : the meaning and experience for women of doing well during the menopausal transition McBride, Hillary Lianna


Although a normally occurring developmental transition in the life of a woman, menopause has often been portrayed as a negative event with much of the research being focused on the physical aspects of this experience. Less emphasis has been placed on the psychosocial aspects of the menopause transition, or on how women experience well-being during menopause – particularly single women who are not in a committed relationship during this biopsychosocial transition. In light of the extant literature, hermeneutic phenomenology, grounded in a theoretical framework of feminist phenomenology, was used to explore the following research question: What is the meaning and experience of doing well during the menopausal transition for women who were not in a committed relationship throughout the transition? In depth, audio recorded interviews were conducted with 10 post-menopausal women who self-identified as doing well during the transition and were not in a committed relationship throughout the transition. Using van Manen’s (1990) approach to hermeneutic phenomenology, the following common themes emerged: 1) a sense of menopause as a physical non-event; 2) the importance of relationships and dialogue with other women; 3) a sense of freedom; 4) a sense of transitioning to another phase of life; and 5) menopause as metamorphosis. Lincoln and Guba’s (1985) criteria were used to ensure the trustworthiness of the findings. The findings of the study are discussed in light of the existing research and theory, and the implications for the practice of Counselling Psychology and future research are discussed.

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