Characteristics of women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) who did or did not report history of depression: a preliminary report from the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles

J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2001 Nov;10(9):873-8. doi: 10.1089/152460901753285778.


We examined the characteristics of 33 women with a diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) who did (n = 19) or did not (n = 14) report a history of major depression. Five hundred thirteen older premenopausal women (ages 36-44) from a community-based sample completed a prospective evaluation of PMDD with daily records. The diagnosis of PMDD was confirmed in 33 women (6.3%), and 14 subjects met criteria for PMDD with no history of depression. Demographic characteristics, cigarette smoking, and menstrual and reproductive history of subjects with PMDD who did or did not report a history of depression were compared. Women with PMDD and no history of depression were more educated and more frequently had a marital disruption (p < 0.05). No significant differences were observed with respect to reproduction-related characteristics or past cigarette smoking. These preliminary data suggest the existence of characteristics particularly related to women who meet criteria for PMDD and have no history of depression. Given the significant psychosocial impairment commonly associated with PMDD symptoms and the existing data that support its classification and adequate treatment as a distinct clinical entity, further studies are needed to better identify predictors of this syndrome unrelated to a lifetime history of depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Community Health Services
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking
  • Premenopause
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires