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Gibson, Carolyn (2015) VASOMOTOR SYMPTOMS AND NEGATIVE AFFECT: AN AMBULATORY ASSESSMENT OF MIDLIFE WOMEN. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Hot flashes and night sweats, or vasomotor symptoms (VMS), are reported by an estimated 70-80% of women during the menopausal transition. Measures of negative affect are among the strongest and most consistent correlates of all aspects of VMS experience, though the mechanisms linking these factors are unclear. The current study aimed to examine the within day and day-to-day relationships between vasomotor symptoms and negative affect, and the potential role of sleep disturbance and cortisol dysregulation in these relationships, in a sample of women in midlife.
Methods: Fifty-three women (49% African American) who reported daily vasomotor symptoms were enrolled in an ambulatory study. For seven days, participants documented their mood state, VMS experience, sleep, and health behaviors multiple times a day using electronic diaries, and wore Actiwatches to capture additional data related to sleep parameters. Participants also provided morning and bedtime saliva samples for salivary cortisol collection over three days during the observed period. Hierarchical linear regression was used to examine relationships between VMS, negative affect, and related factors.
Results: Accounting for a number of health and demographic variables, women reported more negative affect on both the same day (β=1.46, p<.001 for VMS bother) and the day following (β=0.80, p=0.02 for night sweat severity, β=0.61, p=0.02 for night sweat bother) a more negative experience of vasomotor symptoms. A flatter diurnal cortisol slope was related to hot flash severity (β=0.09, p=0.03) and bother (β=0.10, p<.01) as well as negative affect (β=0.68, p=0.01), and partially explained the relationship between negative affect and VMS. Sleep disturbance did not appear to play a role in linking VMS to next day negative affect.
Conclusion: The subjective experience of VMS plays a key role in relationships between VMS, negative affect, and health-related factors on a daily basis. The findings of this study do not support a small role of sleep disturbance in linking night sweat severity to next day negative affect, but suggest that further research is warranted to better understand the relationship between daily VMS experience, stress physiology, and negative affect.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gibson, Carolyncjg40@pitt.eduCJG40
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMatthews, Karenmatthewska@upmc.eduXYOO
Committee MemberThurston, Rebeccathurstonrc@upmc.eduRCT10
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen Bmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee MemberMarsland, Annamarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Committee MemberKamarck, Thomastkam@pitt.eduTKAM
Date: 18 September 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 November 2014
Approval Date: 18 September 2015
Submission Date: 23 June 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 125
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: vasomotor symptoms, negative affect, menopause
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2015 20:34
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:42


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