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There is a need for development of theoretical models in menstrual cycle research. Changes in moods and symptoms related to the menstrual cycle are problematic for a small, but significant proportion of women, and the complexity of such interrelationships remains a barrier to more effective management. The present study provides empirical data on symptom-mood interrelationships, using a sample of 370 healthy undergraduate women, all of whom responded to the Eight State Questionnaire, and the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire, within the context of a between-groups experimental design. Effects due to age, oral contraceptives, and menstrual cycle phase were tested using MANOVA procedures. Although age effects were not significant, physical symptoms were elevated both menstrually and premenstrually, while use of the contraceptive pill significantly reduced negative mood states. In addition, a non-recursive heuristic model is postulated, providing hypotheses as to putative "causal influences." Overall, the empirical (LISREL) model suggests that menstrual cycle symptoms and mood states are discrete constructs, which interact reciprocally.
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