Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis
The menstrual cycle is not only a physiological experience, it is also a psychological, social, and cultural one. However, the majority of the research on menstruation views the experience of menstruation via the medical model. Through this lens, menstruation is not a natural, healthy part of a woman's experience, but a pathology requiring diagnosis and treatment. This study focuses on whether cultural and social expectations affect women's psychological evaluations of the menstrual experience, and particularly, whether identification with feminism affects attitudes toward menstruation and the physical and emotional symptoms experienced. Subjects were 87 college women who completed 30 days of prospective mood ratings. 43 subjects completed the Menstrual Symptom Questionnaire (Chesney & Tasto, 1975), the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (Brooks-Gunn & Ruble, 1980), and a Feminism Scale (Dempewolff, 1972) prior to beginning the mood ratings as part of a sensitizing manipulation. The remaining subjects served as controls to determine if demand characteristics affected attitudes and mood. Results indicated that identification with feminism was associated with more positive mood around menstruation.
Date of Award
Department of Psychology
Presidential Scholar Designation
A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar
1 PDF file (28 pages)
©1995 Natalie J. Martin
Martin, Natalie J., "The psychology of menstruation" (1995). Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006). 110.