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Menopausal instruments usually assess the frequency or intensity of symptoms. The present study develops and validates an inventory to assess the severity of menopausal symptoms through the measurement of their frequency and intensity, and explores the differences between women with different menopausal status. A community sample of 992 Portuguese women in pre-, peri- and postmenopause completed the proposed inventory with 47 items. Factor exploratory and confirmatory analyses, and comparative statistics for paired and independent samples, were applied using PASW Statistics v.19 and AMOS v.18 software. The final structure with 38 items organized in 12 factors showed overall good psychometric properties (in terms of factor analysis, convergent, discriminant and criterion validity, as well as regarding reliability, sensitivity, and measure invariance in two different and independent samples). The Wilcoxon test confirmed significant differences between frequency and intensity of symptoms. Moreover, peri- and postmenopausal women in this community sample presented low symptom severity (ranging from 0.4 to 1.4 in a scale from 0 to 4). Although postmenopausal participants presented higher levels (when compared with their perimenopausal counterparts), the two groups only diverged significantly in some physical symptoms (namely, aches and pain, vasomotor symptoms, numbness, skin and facial hair changes, urinary and sexual symptoms). This research emphasizes that severity measurement of symptoms should account for both frequency and intensity. Moreover, it contributes a fully validated 12-dimension inventory for menopausal symptoms, the Menopause Symptoms' Severity Inventory-38. Regarding differences between peri- and postmenopausal women, the increment in symptoms only happens in physical symptoms, although the severity levels are not exacerbated.


F Pimenta, I Leal, J Maroco, C Ramos. Menopause Symptoms' Severity Inventory (MSSI-38): assessing the frequency and intensity of symptoms. Climacteric : the journal of the International Menopause Society. 2012 Apr;15(2):143-52

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PMID: 21995678

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