Current Psychology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 264–281 | Cite as

The menstrual distress questionnaire: Are the critics right?

  • Ellen Hawes
  • Tian P. S. Oei


The Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) is the most widely used method of assessing premenstrual symptomatology. It is also the most frequently criticized instrument in this field. A review of the criticisms made toward the MDQ revealed three major issues concerning the reliability and validity of this instrument and the sample from whom normative data were gathered. These issues were examined in light of 49 studies that used this instrument between 1968 and 1990. Many of the criticisms were found to be justified. A marked lack of adequate research into the MDQ’s reliability, problems associated with the normative sample, and uncertain validity were found. In particular, the MDQ appears to measure constructs unrelated to the menstrual cycle and define premenstrual syndrome inaccurately. In addition, the factor structure of this instrument may be unstable. These conclusions were tempered with the knowledge that the MDQ has not been utilized to its full potential in most of the research conducted to date.


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Hawes
    • 1
  • Tian P. S. Oei
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Clinic, Department of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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