UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Premenstrual syndrome in context McFarlane, Jessica


This study was designed to address several issues related to PMS. One purpose was to compare women who say they have PMS with those who say they do not have PMS and to compare women diagnosed with PMS with those not diagnosed as having it. Forty-eight women and 11 men (included for comparison) who had a mean age of 34 years, were not students, and met other screening criteria, volunteered to keep daily charts for 120 days (prospective daily data). They did not know the menstrual purpose of the study. Each participant's daily reports were examined individually for PMS patterns according to strict criteria, and they were accordingly assigned to one of five groups. Only six women (12.5%) met the diagnostic criteria for premenstrual syndrome, but 62.5% said they had PMS. Fourteen women and 2 men (randomly assigned to menstrual cycles), 28% of the total sample, had diagnosable "downs" in other phases. The greater proportion of diagnosable downs in phases other than the premenstrual phase calls into question the appropriateness of a singular focus on PMS rather than on general cyclicity in adults' day-to-day experiences. Indeed, 74% of all participants in this study(including 73% of the men) had one or more diagnosed cyclic patterns in at least one of the three (menstrual, day of week, lunar) cycles studied. Participants also recalled (retrospective data) their menstrual (women only), weekday, and lunar moods. When prospective and retrospective data were compared, analyses revealed that participants may have used menstrual and day of week stereotypes to assist in their recall. Both parametric (normative) and nonparametric (idiographic)analyses were conducted, with sometimes contrasting results. These contradictions and their implications are discussed. It was concluded that it may be inappropriate to refer to a premenstrual syndrome, that the proposed inclusion of Late Luteal Phase Dysphoric Disorder (LLPDD) in the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) is questionable, and that more needs to be known about healthy cyclical changes before conclusions about unhealthy cyclic changes can be drawn.

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