Perceptions of Health and Somatic Sensations in Women Reporting Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono.
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.69). 09/2013; 201(9):780-5. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182a213f1
Source: PubMed


Focus on bodily sensations may be involved in the etiology of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This study investigated the relationship between two types of somatic self-focus (i.e., health anxiety and anxiety sensitivity) and health-related quality of life (QOL) in women with provision diagnoses of PMS and PMDD. On the basis of responses to a screening measure, 731 college women were divided into three groups: PMDD, Moderate/Severe PMS, and Mild/No PMS. Measures included health-related QOL, health anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and trait anxiety. Women with provisional diagnoses of PMDD and moderate/severe PMS reported higher levels of health anxiety and anxiety sensitivity. These relationships were not accounted for by trait anxiety. Furthermore, women in the PMDD and Moderate/Severe PMS groups reported lower health-related QOL. There is a significant health-related QOL burden for college women with PMDD and PMS. Health anxiety and anxiety sensitivity may contribute to the etiology of premenstrual disorders.

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    ABSTRACT: The etiology of premenstrual disorders, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorders (PMDD), is not well understood. In the current study, the relationship between self-focused attention (SFA) and premenstrual disorders was examined to explore the hypothesis that women with premenstrual disorders tend to respond to symptoms in a maladaptive manner. Based on retrospective report, clinical interview, and 30–day prospective recording of premenstrual symptoms, women (N = 52) were categorized as meeting criteria for premenstrual disorders (PMD; n = 24) or not (controls; n = 28). Key findings indicated that women with premenstrual disorders reported greater use of SFA in response to negative affect elicited by laboratory tasks than controls, despite no significant differences in change in negative affect between the two groups. Women with premenstrual disorders also reported greater trait levels of SFA and maladaptive coping styles compared to controls. Women with premenstrual disorders may tend to respond to menstrual cycle changes using increased levels of SFA. The interaction between psychological and physiological menstrual cycle-related changes may lead to increased distress and impairment. Implications for psychological contributions to premenstrual distress and disorders are discussed.
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