Affective response to the menstrual cycle as a predictor of self-reported affective response to alcohol and alcohol use

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2012 Dec;15(6):423-32. doi: 10.1007/s00737-012-0303-1. Epub 2012 Aug 23.


Past research suggests that women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have higher levels of alcohol use/abuse. The present study was conducted to test the hypothesis that women with diverse patterns of affective response to the menstrual cycle (PMS pattern, mid-cycle pattern, and noncyclical pattern) would show mean-level differences on measures of self-reported affective response to alcohol, alcohol use, and sleep changes following alcohol use. All participants from an initial study of n = 213 college-aged women who had prospectively completed daily questionnaires for two full menstrual cycles were asked to complete a one-time retrospective questionnaire regarding their alcohol use and typical affective response when consuming alcohol. From that original study, n = 161 also participated in the present study. Results showed significant differences, in the expected direction, on three out of five measures (hard alcohol use, negative affective response to alcohol, and change in sleep following alcohol use). Women in the PMS pattern group reported (retrospectively) higher levels of hard alcohol use, a less negative affective response associated with alcohol use, and lower levels of sleep changes in relation to alcohol use, as compared to the mid-cycle group. The discussion considers potential mechanisms that may be responsible for these associations (i.e., GABA(A) modulation).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Menstrual Cycle / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Report
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult