The extent of menopausal and postmenopausal hormone use in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden during 1981-1992 was studied by means of drug sales figures and associations between hormone use, education, employment and occupational status, by questionnaire surveys in each of the respective countries in the 1980s-90s. According to sales figures, hormone use has been different in each of the countries studied. In 1981 use was three times more common in Denmark than in Norway. In 1992 use had increased in all the other countries except Denmark, and was highest in Finland and Sweden. Based on 1981 data for Norway, on 1987 data for Denmark and on 1989 data for Finland, use of hormone therapy was related to education, employment or occupational status in Finland but not in Denmark or Norway. Differences in the phases of innovation diffusion between these countries may offer a partial explanation for these results.