EXPRESS: Thinking outside Pandora’s Box: Revealing differential effects of coping with physical and psychological menopause symptoms at work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Menopause is one of the most distinctive and individualised aspects of health-related gendered ageing at work, which is important as more women than ever before are working through their entire menopause cycle. We turn to the life-span development model of Selection, Optimisation and Compensation (SOC), which has great potential to provide a more nuanced review of adaptive behavioural strategies for potential work-related resource loss due to menopause. In this paper, we provide evidence from two studies: Study 1 was an inductive analysis of 21 interviews; Study 2 tested a number of hypotheses emergent from study 1 on two survey samples (n=381). We found that women with severe menopause symptoms were adversely affected at work; however, the use of SOC alongside supervisory and female peer support, ameliorated the negative impact of physical menopause symptoms on work performance. We also identified that SOC use was actually detrimental to work performance when used to manage psychological menopause symptoms. Our findings advance the understanding of gendered ageing at work, specifically managing menopause at work, through the lens of SOC theory. We show how engaging in agentic adaptive behaviours can be both beneficial and detrimental for differentially managing physical and psychological menopause symptoms at work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Relations
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • menopause
  • work
  • SOC
  • adaptive behavioural strategies
  • gendered ageing

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