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Self-compassion weakens the association between hot flushes and night sweats and daily life functioning and depression

  • Lydia Brown
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia. Tel.: +61 437 552 208.
    Affiliations
    Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
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  • Christina Bryant
    Affiliations
    Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia

    Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Locked Bag 300, Grattan St & Flemington Rd, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
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  • Valerie M. Brown
    Affiliations
    Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
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  • Bei Bei
    Affiliations
    Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia

    Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Locked Bag 300, Grattan St & Flemington Rd, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia

    School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Building 17, Clayton Campus, Wellington Road, VIC 3800, Australia

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Level 1 North, Main Block, Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC 3050, Australia
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  • Fiona K. Judd
    Affiliations
    Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Locked Bag 300, Grattan St & Flemington Rd, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Level 1 North, Main Block, Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC 3050, Australia
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      Abstract

      Objectives

      Some women find hot flushes and night sweats (HFNS) to interfere more in daily life and mood than others. Psychological resources may help to explain these individual differences. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of self-compassion, defined as healthy way of relating toward the self when dealing with difficult experiences, as a potential moderator of the relationship between HFNS and daily life activities, which in turn influences symptoms of depression.

      Study design

      This was a cross-sectional study using questionnaire data from 206 women aged 40–60 who were currently experiencing hot flushes and/or night sweats. Path analysis was used to model relationships among menopausal factors (HFNS frequency and daily interference ratings), self-compassion and mood.

      Main outcome measure

      Hot flush interference in daily activities and depressive symptoms.

      Results

      On average, women experienced 4.02 HFNS per day, and HFNS frequency was moderately correlated with interference ratings (r = 0.38). In the path analytic model, self-compassion made significant direct contribution to hot flush interference ratings (β = −0.37) and symptoms of depression (β = −0.42), and higher self-compassion was associated with lower interference and depressive symptoms. Self-compassion also moderated the relationship between HFNS frequency and hot flush interference. Higher self-compassion was associated with weaker effects of HFNS frequency on daily interference.

      Conclusions

      Self-compassion may weaken the association between HFNS and daily life functioning, which in turn, could lead to less HFNS-related mood problems. These findings imply that self-compassion may be a resilience factor to help women manage hot flushes and night sweats.

      Abbreviations:

      HFNS (hot flushes and night sweats), HFI (Hot Flush Related Daily Interference Scale), CES-D (Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), BMI (body mass index)

      Keywords

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