An Integrative Cognitive Vulnerability Model of Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

Christina Bryant, Valerie Brown, Fiona Judd

Despite the mounting evidence that thoughts and emotions play an important role in the perception of hot flushes and night sweats (HF/NS), often the most bothersome physical menopausal symptom, no research has focused on the filtering role of cognitive schema. This study will fill this gap by investigating how the personal vulnerabilities of some women may impact on their cognitive and emotional representations about the menopause, and in turn, how these representations may amplify the experience of hot flushes and night sweats.

The aim of this project is to test a novel integrative vulnerability model in order to better understand how cognitive and emotional representations relate to the experience of vasomotor symptoms. This model proposes that pre-menopausal women’s cognitive vulnerabilities (anxiety sensitivity, catastrophising, pessimistic explanatory style) as well as body shame and surveillance, would contribute to the formation of menopausal schemas, thus adding one step to the Self-Regulation Model (SRM), an approach that is yet to be tested, for the menopause or any other illness.

Questions to be examined in this project include: What are the cognitive and emotional representations of the menopause across various menopausal stages? Does coping mediate the effects of menopausal representations on HF/NS appraisal as predicted by the SRM? What are the specific relationships between menopausal representations, coping, and the appraisal of HF/NS?

 

For more information please contact Christina Bryant

 

Affiliations:

Christina Bryant
Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne
Valerie Brown
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne
Fiona Judd
Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital and
Department of Psychiatry; University of Melbourne

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