Personality, alcohol consumption, and menstrual distress in young women

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1991 Aug;15(4):647-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1991.tb00573.x.


There has been a longstanding hypothesis that some women develop alcohol dependence as a result of drinking to alleviate premenstrual dysphoria. This study investigated the relationship between personality factors, alcohol consumption, and menstrual distress symptoms in nonalcoholic drinking young women. Normally menstruating women monitored their alcohol intake and physical and affective distress symptoms daily for two consecutive menstrual cycles. Subjects were unaware that their menstrual cycles and symptoms were being monitored. Subjects also completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), Cattel's Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), and the Vando Reducer-Augmenter Scale. The MMPI scales were factor analyzed to reduce the number of variables. Four derived MMPI factors were added to the VANDO, the three EPQ factors, and the four higher order factors of the 16PF to provide a total of twelve personality predictors. Separate regression analyses were carried out between personality factors and both alcohol consumption and menstrual distress. The results revealed that the women who drank more tended to be significantly more extroverted, spontaneous, carefree, and open to change. By contrast, women who reported greater over-all menstrual distress tended to be less capable, secure, and well-adjusted and reported a greater number of emotional and psychological problems. There was no correlation between alcohol consumption and menstrual distress. It was concluded that the results contradict the alcoholism-menstrual cycle hypothesis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MMPI
  • Menstrual Cycle / psychology*
  • Personality*
  • Regression Analysis