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Psychosom Med. 1995 Sep-Oct;57(5):453-9.

Personality factors in women with premenstrual syndrome.

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Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


The recently developed Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) was used to examine personality correlates in women diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The hypotheses were that the TPQ scores, specifically harm avoidance (HA), would be higher in PMS subjects than in the general population but lower than in depressed populations because major mood disorder is an exclusion from the PMS diagnosis; harm avoidance would have the strongest association with PMS, but other TPQ factors might characterize nondysphoric subgroups in the PMS population. The sample included 157 women who sought medical treatment and met clearly defined criteria for PMS. Two comparison groups of age-matched women with major depression (MDD, N = 20) and premenstrual exacerbation of major depression (MDD + PMS, N = 24) were also evaluated. TPQ scores were significantly higher for PMS subjects on all three dimensions compared with external normative TPQ data. The TPQ dimensions of HA and novelty seeking (NS) were modestly correlated with the premenstrual symptom scores. The HA dimension correlated with premenstrual depression and physical aches; high NS scores correlated with premenstrual food cravings, headache, and mood swings. As hypothesized, the HA scores were significantly higher in the comparison groups diagnosed with major depression; the NS and reward dependence (RD) dimensions did not differ between the PMS and MDD groups. PMS was associated with only modest nonnormative personality correlates, as assessed by the TPQ. Elevations of the HA and NS dimensions were associated with a tendency for the PMS to present with specific symptom patterns: depressive symptoms for the HA factor and food cravings and mood swings for the NS factor. Further research employing other assessment methods is needed to confirm these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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