THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PREMENSTRUAL DISTRESS AND MARITAL SATISFACTION
COHEN, MARNA G.
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The relationship between premenstrual distress and quality of the marriage was studied. It was hypothesized that women reporting less marital satisfaction, poorer communication, and less spousal support would report greater distress, as would women reporting higher or lower (compared to mid-range) independence/power in the marriage. Additional variables were considered based on the literature's suggestion they may affect premenstrual distress (role adjustment difficulty, religion, number of children, work status).;Ninety-eight married, normally-menstruating women aged 25-40 completed a self-report questionnaire. Symptomatology was measured by a modified form of Moos's Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ). All eight MDQ symptom scales showed significant premenstrual increases from intermenstrual levels. However, even after the increase, premenstrual levels were generally in the "barely noticeable" to "mild" range. Water retention, negative affect, and pain showed the greatest change. Two scales (arousal and the control) were eliminated from hypothesis confirmation analyses because they differ conceptually from the other six.;In multiple regression analyses using premenstrual symptomatology as the criterion variable, several factors in the marriage significantly predicted one or two of the six MDQ scales. As hypothesized, marital dissatisfaction and poorer communication were significantly related to concentration difficulties (p < .10) and water retention (p < .05), respectively. Hypotheses concerning spousal support and independence/power were not supported. Other significant relationships (p < .05) include greater role adjustment difficulty and less behavior change; Catholics perceived more pain than non-Catholics; number of children was related to more concentration difficulties; and working women reported less water retention than housewives. The entire set of predictor variables significantly predicted three of the six symptom scales (behavior change, negative affect p < .05 ; pain p < .10 ).;An interesting finding was the strength of the positive relationship between marital dissatisfaction and intermenstrual symptomatology, which was significant for five scales (pain, concentration difficulties, autonomic reactions, negative affect p < .05 ; water retention p < .10 ). This positive intermenstrual relationship may have limited the possibility of observing a stronger relationship premenstrually.;Results emphasize the need to consider intermenstrual symptom levels in premenstrual distress research. Clinically, it is important to view premenstrual distress as not only contributing to but also a possible symptom of marital dissatisfaction.
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