Perceptions of Menstrual and Premenstrual Symptoms: Self-Definitional Processes at Menarche

  • Diane N. Ruble
  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn


Two lines of inquiry appear to characterize research related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (for example, see descriptions in Debrovner, 1982, and Friedman, 1982). Those two lines overlap and do not seem to be clearly delineated. The first concerns symptom reports associated with premenstrual and menstrual bases of the cycle and represents most of the literature. This line of research concerns the study of a wide range of symptoms — anything that might constitute menstrual or premenstrual distress in even its mildest form. Thus, terms such as premenstrual blues, negative affect, premenstrual tension, etc., apply to this line of research. But regardless of the term, the symptoms studied are not viewed as constituting a syndrome. The other line of research refers to a PMS syndrome characterized by a very specific cluster or clusters of symptoms. It is characterized as well by a greater level of severity, such that it may be disruptive to a woman’s functioning, and by precise timing in relation to menstruation. The latter is what is usually referred to as PMS, and what we will use as the definition of PMS for the purposes of this chapter.


Menstrual Cycle Psychosomatic Medicine Symptom Report Premenstrual Syndrome Premenstrual Symptom 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane N. Ruble
    • 1
  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Educational Testing ServicePrincetonUSA

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