Alcohol Use, Negative Mood States, and Menstrual Cycle Phases

Authors

  • Patricia B. Sutker PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine; Veterans Administration Medical Center, New Orleans, LA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina; and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Charleston, SC.
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  • Julian M. Libet PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine; Veterans Administration Medical Center, New Orleans, LA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina; and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Charleston, SC.
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  • Albert N. Allain MS,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine; Veterans Administration Medical Center, New Orleans, LA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina; and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Charleston, SC.
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  • Carrie L. Randall PhD

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine; Veterans Administration Medical Center, New Orleans, LA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina; and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Charleston, SC.
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2 Chief. Psychology Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, 1601 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70146.

Abstract

This study investigated the hypothesis that alcohol consumption patterns among normally menstrually cycling women would be influenced by increased negative mood states and phase of the menstrual cycle. A timeseries, within-groups design was used to allow for comparisons among normally cycling women, women maintained on oral contraceptives, and men. Thirty-two adults recorded daily estimates of ongoing behaviors in the areas mentioned for two menstrual cycles or equivalent periods. Radioimmunoassay and temperature data were used to confirm ovulation and to define ovulatory, premenstrual, and menstrual phases. Estimates of anxiety, depression, and hostility were highly intercorrelated, but negative moods were not significantly related to frequency/amount of alcohol consumption. However, normally cycling women reported significantly more negative moods, more frequent drinking to relieve tension/depression, and more frequent solitary drinking at menstruation. These relationships were not observed among oral contraceptive women or men. Collected among psychologically robust, working subjects of high intelligence, these data provide estimates of baseline functioning for future studies exploring the progression of pathological alcohol use patterns among women.

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