Thesis Title

Is There Life After Menopause? A Study of Changing Self Concept in Midlife Women

Graduation Date

Summer 1998

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


A study of six women’s experience of the menopausal transition as expressed through discussions and artwork from a one-day focus group and two questionnaires preceding and following the group. Participants also evaluated the group itself as a tool in dealing with issues of this transition. All six women identified negative cultural attitudes toward menopause and aging as factors that make this transition difficult. This effect was compounded for some participants when disability and subsequent job loss, intense or sudden onset of perimenopausal symptoms, or unusual symptoms were present. Participants were critical of medical practitioners’ tendency to treat menopause in conventional ways, without taking into account individual desires and differences. Women expressed stages of the grieving process, including denial, anger, bargaining, and acknowledging loss as part of this transition. Despite depressed mood at various times, four women documented a stronger sense of self, less concern with others’ opinions, and commitment to plans and goals for the future as having increased with age.