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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2008 Dec;141(2):127-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2008.07.018. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Adverse mood effects of combined oral contraceptives in relation to personality traits.

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  • 1Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.



Mood symptoms, such as depressed mood, anxiety and increased irritability, remain one of the major reasons for discontinuation of combined oral contraceptive (COC) pills. The aim of this study was to compare personality traits in women with ongoing or previous use of COCs and different experiences from these compounds with respect to adverse mood symptoms.


Thirty women currently on COCs with no reports of adverse mood symptoms, 28 women currently on COCs and experiencing mood-related side effects, 27 women who had discontinued COC use for reasons other than adverse mood symptoms and 33 women who had discontinued COC use due to adverse mood effects were included. All participants were asked to fill out the Swedish universities Scales of Personality (SSP) to assess different personality traits.


The women who were experiencing mood-related side effects on their current COC use exhibited higher scores on the somatic anxiety and stress susceptibility traits as compared to the women who did not experience any mood-related side effects from their current COCs. Women who had discontinued COC treatment because of adverse mood effects had higher scores of detachment and mistrust compared to women who had discontinued COC for reasons unrelated to mood effects.


Higher scores on specific personality traits such as somatic anxiety and stress susceptibility are found in women with ongoing experience of adverse mood symptoms from COC. Higher scores of mistrust and detachment are more common among women who have discontinued COC treatment due to adverse mood effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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