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, 126 (8), 1104-1113

Interactive Effects of Ovarian Steroid Hormones on Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking Across the Menstrual Cycle


Interactive Effects of Ovarian Steroid Hormones on Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking Across the Menstrual Cycle

Michelle M Martel et al. J Abnorm Psychol.


Patterns and features of substance use and abuse vary across the menstrual cycle in humans. Yet, little work has systematically examined the within-person relationships between ovarian hormone changes and alcohol use across the menstrual cycle. Our study was the first to examine the roles of within-person levels of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) in relation to daily alcohol use and binge drinking in young women. Participants were 22 naturally cycling women, ages 18-22, recruited through a university subject pool who reported any alcohol use and who completed a screening visit assessing study eligibility, followed by 35 subsequent days of data collection. E2 and P4 were obtained via enzyme immunoassay of saliva samples collected by participants each morning, 30 min after waking. Presence and degree of daily substance use were obtained using an adaptation of the Timeline FollowBack Interview completed daily. Results indicated that elevated E2 in the context of decreased P4 levels were associated with higher risk of drinking and binge drinking. These effects were present only on weekend days. Results are suggestive of a dual risk model in which both ovulatory E2 increases and perimenstrual P4 decreases increase risk for drinking. Differential associations of steroids with drinking across the menstrual cycle may suggest the need for clinical assessment of substance use to take into account hormone dynamics and menstrual cycle phase. (PsycINFO Database Record


Figure 1
Figure 1
Means and SDs for Estradiol and Progesterone (pg/mL; TOP ROW) and Drinking Variables (BOTTOM ROW) across the menstrual cycle. Means and Standard Deviations for Estradiol, Progesterone, Probability of Drinking, and Probability of Binge Drinking Across Menstrual Cycle Phases.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Interactive Within-Person Effects of Recent E2 Levels and Recent P4 Levels on Drinking (TOP) and Binge Drinking (BOTTOM) on Weekend Days. On Weekend Days, E2 was positively associated with risk for drinking, and this was especially true when P4 was low (top panel); E2 was also positively associated with binge drinking on weekend days, although this was only true when P4 was low (lower panel).

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