Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 297–310 | Cite as

Behavioral treatment parameters with primary dysmenorrhea

  • Daniel J. Cox
  • Robert G. Meyer
Article

Abstract

Fourteen women with primary dysmenorrhea were administered four sessions of systematic desensitization (SD) by either a male or a female therapist. The following measures were taken during the flow periods before and after treatment and at a 6-month follow-up: menstrual symptom checklist, medication usage, invalid hours, and menstrual attitudes. At pretreatment, menstrually distressed women had significantly higher scores on all measures compared to a normative group and an explicitly nondistressed group. At posttreatment, treated women's scores on the dependent variables were significantly reduced. All indices were reduced to a “nondistressed level” at posttreatment and at 6-month follow-up. Type of dysmenorrhea (congestive vs. spasmodic), trait anxiety level, and therapist sex did not predict differential responsiveness to SD. SD did not affect frontalis EMG, peripheral blood flow, or pain threshold. A Retrospective Symptom Scale of menstrual distress was found to be highly reliable, valid, and sensitive.

Key words

menstrual cycle primary dysmenorrhea systematic desensitization behavior therapy menstrual symptoms 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Benson, H., Beary, J. F., and Carol, M. P. (1974). The relaxation response.Psychiatry 37: 37–48.Google Scholar
  2. Bernstein. D. A., and Borkovec, T. D. (1973).Progressive Relaxation Training: A Manual for Helping Professionals, Research Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  3. Boudewyns, P. (1976). A comparison of stress versus relaxation instructions on the finger temperature response.Behav. Ther. 7: 54–67.Google Scholar
  4. Chesney, M. A., and Tasto, D. L. (1975a). The development of the menstrual symptom questionnaire.Behav. Res. Ther. 13: 237–244.Google Scholar
  5. Chesney, M. A., and Tasto, D. L. (1975b). The effectiveness of behavior modification with spasmodic and congestive dysmenorrhea.Behav. Res. Ther. 13: 245–253.Google Scholar
  6. Cox, D. J. (1976). An investigation into treatment parameters of primary dysmenorrhea. Doctoral dissertation, University of Louisville, 1976.Google Scholar
  7. Cox, D. J. (1977a). Training procedures and physiological effects of brief relaxation training. In McGuigen, F. (ed.),Tension Control: Proceedings of the 3rd Meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Tension Control, Blacksburg, University Publications, Va., pp. 167–174.Google Scholar
  8. Cox, D. J. (1977b). Menstrual Symptom Questionnaire: Further psychometric evaluation.Behav. Res. Ther. 5: 506–508.Google Scholar
  9. Cox, D. J., Freundlich, A., and Meyer, R. G. (1975). Differential effectiveness of electromyographic feedback, verbal relaxation instructions and medicine placebo with tension headaches.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 43: 892–898.Google Scholar
  10. Goldfried, M. (1971). Systematic desensitization as training in self-control.J. Couns. Clin. Psychol. 37: 228–234.Google Scholar
  11. Golub, L. J., Menduke, H., and Lang, W. R. (1959). Semi-objective criterion of teen-age dysmenorrhea.Obstet. Gynecol. 14: 179–183.Google Scholar
  12. Green, T. H. (1971).Gynecology: Essentials of Clinical Practice, Little, Brown, Boston.Google Scholar
  13. Kistner, R. W. (1971).Gynecology: Principles and Practice, Year Book, Chicago.Google Scholar
  14. Lackie, F. H. (1964). Hypnotherapy in gynecological disorders.Int. J. Clin. Exp. Hypn. 12: 121–145.Google Scholar
  15. MacMahon, E. J. (1977). The behavioral treatment of dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain). Master's thesis, Case Western Reserve University.Google Scholar
  16. Meichenbaum, D., and Turk, D. (1975). The cognitive-behavior management of anxiety, anger, and pain. Paper presented at the Seventh Banff International Conference.Google Scholar
  17. Mischel, W. (1976).Introduction to Personality, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Atlanta.Google Scholar
  18. Mulcahy, R., and Janz, N. (1973). Effectiveness of raising pain perception threshold in males and females using psychoprophylactic childbirth techniques during induced pain.Nurs. Res. 22: 423–427.Google Scholar
  19. Mullen, F. G. (1968). The treatment of a case of dysmenorrhea by behavior therapy techniques.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 147: 371–376.Google Scholar
  20. Mullen, F. G. (1971). Treatment of dysmenorrhea by professional and student behavior therapists. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  21. Novak, E. R., Jones, G. S., and Jones, H. W. (1975).Novak's Textbook of Gynecology, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  22. Parlee, M. B. (1973). Premenstrual symptoms.Psychol. Bull. 80: 454–465.Google Scholar
  23. Parlee, M. B. (1974). Stereotypic beliefs about menstruation: A methodological note on the Moos menstrual distress questionnaire and some new data.Psychosom. Med. 36: 229–240.Google Scholar
  24. Reeves, J. L., and Mealiea, W. L. (1975). Biofeedback assisted cue controlled relaxation for the treatment of flight phobia.J. Behav. Ther. Exp. Psychiat. 6: 105–111.Google Scholar
  25. Reich, S. K. (1972). The effects of group systematic desensitization on the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea. Doctoral dissertation, University of New Mexico.Google Scholar
  26. Rumenik, D. K., Capason, D. R., and Hendrick, C. (1977). Experimenter sex effects in behavior research.Psychol. Bull. 84: 52–877.Google Scholar
  27. Sturgis, S. H. (1970). Primary dysmenorrhea: Etiology and management. In Sturgis, S. H., and Tymon, M. L. (eds.),Progress in Gynecology, Vol. V, Grune & Stratum, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Tasto, D. L., and Chesney, M. A. (1974). Muscle relaxation treatment for primary dysmenorrhea.Behav. Ther. 5: 668–672.Google Scholar
  29. Taylor, J. A. (1953). A personality scale of manifest anxiety.J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 48: 285–290.Google Scholar
  30. Tyler, E. T. (1973). Contraceptive control: The pill is best for most. In Lauler, D. P. (ed.),Reproductive Endocrinology, Medcom, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel J. Cox
    • 1
  • Robert G. Meyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Virginia Medical CenterCharlottesville
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LouisvilleLouisville

Personalised recommendations