Menopause research and the dominance of the biomedical model 1984-1994

Sharon Scales Rostosky, Cheryl Brown Travis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Popular images and stereotypes of women in the menopausal age range are overwhelmingly negative. Because these stereotypes are likely both to influence and to be influenced by published scholarship, it is particularly important to examine conventional knowledge as it has been represented in science-based journals. In an effort to examine the extent and nature of the accepted knowledge base regarding menopause, a survey of both medical and psychological journal articles was conducted for the years 1984-1994. Publication trends revealed a predominance of articles based on a biomedical paradigm and the virtual absence of articles presenting alternative perspectives on midlife. Ten serious methodological problems common to this literature are delineated, including such fundamental errors as failure to acquire baseline data, lack of control groups, vague operational definitions, and blatantly pejorative language. We also discuss conceptual flaws implicit in the predominant paradigm, including the messages that women are different, sicker, and weaker than a normal, male, ideal. Finally, we consider the implications of these social constructions for the political, social, and psychological status of women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-312
Number of pages28
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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