Differential Contributions of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Manifestations to Psychological Symptoms

  • Judy G. McCookEmail author
  • Beth A. Bailey
  • Stacey L. Williams
  • Sheeba Anand
  • Nancy E. Reame


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative contributions of previously identified Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) manifestations (infertility, hirsutism, obesity, menstrual problems) to multiple psychological symptoms. Participants were 126 female endocrinology patient volunteers diagnosed with PCOS who completed a cross-sectional study of PCOS manifestations and psychological symptoms. Participants had significantly elevated scores on nine subscales of psychological symptoms. Menstrual problems were significantly associated with all symptom subscales as well as the global indicator, while hirsutism and obesity were significantly related to five or more subscales. After controlling for demographic factors, menstrual problems were the strongest predictor of psychological symptoms. Findings suggest features of excess body hair, obesity, and menstrual abnormalities carry unique risks for adverse psychologic symptoms, but menstrual problems may be the most salient of these features and deserve particular attention as a marker for psychological risk among women with PCOS.


Psychological Distress Infertility Psychological Symptom Interpersonal Sensitivity Global Severity Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are especially grateful for the women who served as research participants. This work is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Sam Thatcher, a generous friend, dedicated clinician, and selfless mentor.

Partial funding was received for Dr. McCook from the National Institutes of Health Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Program.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy G. McCook
    • 1
    Email author
  • Beth A. Bailey
    • 2
  • Stacey L. Williams
    • 3
  • Sheeba Anand
    • 4
  • Nancy E. Reame
    • 5
  1. 1.College of NursingEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA
  4. 4.Internal Medicine Residency ProgramEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA
  5. 5.School of NursingColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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