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Depress Anxiety. 2018 Apr;35(4):313-320. doi: 10.1002/da.22699. Epub 2017 Dec 15.

Changes in coping and social motives for drinking and alcohol consumption across the menstrual cycle.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
3
Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
4
Department of Psychology, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.
5
School of Occupational Therapy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
6
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
7
Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alcohol use has been reported to fluctuate over women's menstrual cycles (MCs), with increased intake occurring premenstrually/menstrually (phases characterized by heightened negative affect) and during the ovulatory phase (a phase characterized by positive affect). This suggests women may drink for particular emotion-focused reasons at specific points in their cycles. However, no research had yet examined MC variability in drinking motives, or links between cycle-related changes in drinking motives and alcohol consumption.

METHODS:

Ninety-four normally cycling women (Mage  = 22.9 years old, SDage  = 4.7) completed daily diary measures (via Smartphone surveys), with questions pertaining to state drinking motives and quantity of alcohol consumed for the course of a full MC.

RESULTS:

Drinking motives differed by cycle phase. Women reported a slight increase in drinking to self-medicate for negative affect premenstrually, with drinking to cope peaking in the menstrual phase and declining mid-cycle. Women reported a slight increasing trend across the cycle in social motives for drinking, while enhancement motives remained relatively stable across the cycle. Cycle-related changes in drinking motives predicted increases in the quantity of alcohol consumed. Drinking to cope with negative affect predicted a greater number of drinks menstrually (days 1-5). While social motives predicted a greater number of drinks during the follicular and ovulatory phases (days 5-16), enhancement motives were unrelated to drinking quantity across cycle phase.

CONCLUSIONS:

Clinicians should be attentive to cycle phase when treating reproductive-aged women with alcohol disorders (e.g., encouraging the use of healthier means of coping with negative affect during menses).

KEYWORDS:

alcoholism/alcohol use disorders; anxiety; coping; depression; gender; mood disorders

PMID:
29244908
DOI:
10.1002/da.22699
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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