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Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 337–356 | Cite as

Premenstrual syndrome as a Western culture-specific disorder

  • Thomas M. Johnson
Article

Abstract

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has a phenomenology resembling many culture-bound (culture-specific) syndromes described in the anthropological literature. Viewed as a culture-specific syndrome, PMS is an appropriate symbolic representation of conflicting societal expectations that women be both productive and reproductive. By simultaneously denying either alternative, PMS translates role conflict into a standardized cultural idiom. Thus, despite obvious biopsychological determinants, PMS is best understood as a sociocultural phenomenon illustrating both the special status of women in Western culture and the ethnocentrism of Western anthropology which heretofore has only recently begun to identify culture-specific syndromes in its own back yard.

Keywords

Western Culture Symbolic Representation Role Conflict Premenstrual Syndrome Societal Expectation 
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.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySouthern Methodist UniversityDallasU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterDallas

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