Date of Award

1981

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

Keywords

Psychology, Clinical.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Some psychodynamic authors (Deutsch, 1944; Menninger, 1939; Rheingold, 1964; Thompson, 1964a) and Bardwick (1971), writing on the psychology of women, have proposed that symptoms of the menstrual cycle, such as dysmenorrhea and premenstrual tension, express a disturbed feminine identity, a repudiation of femininity, and sexual inhibition. The scanty and often methodologically inadequate research reported to date has yielded contradictory results. In this study the relationship between menstrual-cycle distress, on the one hand, and feminine identity and sexual inhibition, on the other hand, was investigated among 156 first-year university women. In the first session the subjects wrote stories to pictures eliciting themes about feminine identity; their stories were rated with a scale developed by the author to measure disturbances in feminine identity from projective material. The subjects were also administered the Avoidance of Sexual Intimacy scale (Amin, 1974), a picture-preference test scale measuring sexual inhibition. In a subsequent session the subjects filled out the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (Moos, 1977). No significant relationship was found between menstrual-cycle distress and disturbances in feminine identity or sexual inhibition. A canonical correlation analysis revealed that even the combined set of psychological variables could not significantly predict the level of menstrual or premenstrual distress. Demographic variables, instead, did account for a small portion of the variance: Younger women tended to suffer from more severe menstrual pain than older women, whereas women from a lower socioeconomic background tended to experience premenstrually more symptoms, but not those associated with premenstrual tension. Thus the hypotheses regarding a link between menstrual-cycle distress and disturbances in feminine identity or sexual inhibition were disconfirmed. It was suggested that if there are women, constituting only a minority, for whom menstrual and premenstrual symptoms are closely tied to feminine identity and sexuality, clinicians should specify how to identify them and should distinguish them from the majority of women. Limitations concerning the validity of the instruments and the applicability of the results to older or less educated women were discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1981 .P543. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 42-08, Section: B, page: 3436. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1981.

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