In this scholarly compilation of a major event in the life of every woman, editor Ruth Formanek has adopted an avowedly multidisciplinary mandate: to illuminate menopause as both an event and a stage of life by gathering together a variety of discipline-specific meanings and research perspectives. The result is an admirably comprehensive study that not only charts the premodern meanings of menopause, but proceeds to examine menopause from current biomedical, endocrinological, culutral, and psychological perspectives. Ample attention is give to the psychosocial influences on menopause and to cross-cultural variations in the experience of, and life adjustments that follow, menopause. Societal and familial attitudes toward menopausal women are also explored through an examination of women in classical and modern literature. Clinical contributions review psychoanalytic perspectives on menopause, elucidate the individual meanings of the menopausal experience uncovered in therapy, and consider male views of menopausal women.
Collectively, the contributors to this volume remedy the scant attention menopause has heretofore received in the psychological and psychotherapeutic literature. They not only explore the range of issues associated with menopause, but address these issues in the context of the various myths and superstitions about menopause that have endured over the centuries. Essential reading for students of human development, gender issues, and women's studies, The Meanings of Menopause is, for helping professionals, an invaluable source book on a life event fraught with psychological significance.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Space Crone, LeGuin I. History and Theory 1. Continuity and Change and "The Change of Life": Premodern Views of the Menopause, Formanek 2. The Medicalization of Menopause, Bell 3. A Critical View of Three Psychoanalytical Positions on Menopause, Harris II. Psychosocial, Cross-Cultural, and Research Perspectives 4. Psychosocial Influences and Life Events at the Time of Menopause, Greene 5. Aging into Transitions: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Women at Midlife, Datan 6. The Biomedical Study of Menopause, Goodman 7. The Menopausal Experience: Sociocultural Influences and Theoretical Models, Bowles III. Endocrinology, Clinical and Experiential Studies, and Literary Aspects 8. Endocrinology of Menopause, Gannon 9. Varieties of Menopausal Experience, Notman 10. Portraits of Menopausal Women in Selected Works of English and American Literature, Maxwell 11. Reflections of Self and Other: Men's Views of Menopausal Women, Phillips
Ruth Formanek, Ph.D., is Professor of Elementary Education, Hofstra University. She is a psychologist in private practice in Hempstead, New York.
"As both therapists and the patients they treat age, the expectation that 'the best is yet to be' can be clouded by the prospect of menopause when this phase of life is shrouded in myths and misinformation. The Meanings of Menopause, edited by Ruth Formanek, illuminates this hitherto neglected phase. It offers a fascinating, comprehensive, and well-written coverage of the subject and will be of use to therapists both professionally and personally."
- Frank M. Lachmann, Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, NYC
"Any psychiatrist who sees midlife women will have his or her horizons expanded by this volume. So will anyone who seeks to understand the historical, cultural, and biological contexts in which women live their lives."
- General Hospital Psychiatry