THE SOCIAL STIGMA OF MENSTRUATION

Fact or Fiction?

Authors


  • The authors wish to thank Cheryl Wood, Michelle Boltuc, Joanie McClean, Todd McClean, and Kathy Mathis for their help with data collection.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Robin M. Kowalski, Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723. E-mail: KOWALSKI@WCUVAXI.WCU.EDU

Abstract

In a study examining the effects of a social stigma on impression management concerns, 28 menstruating and 30 nonmenstruating women were interviewed by a male confederate who either was or was not aware of their menstrual condition. Relative to menstruating women who thought the interviewer was unaware of their menstrual condition, menstruating women who believed that the interviewer knew they were menstruating perceived that the interviewer liked them less, yet were less motivated to make an impression on him. Nonmenstruating women reported more self-presentational motivation and perceived that the interviewer viewed them more positively than he did the menstruating women. These results suggest that the interviewer's knowledge of their menstrual condition inhibited menstruating women's self-presentational motivation. Implications of this social stigma for interpersonal relationships are discussed.

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