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PSYC 3480 (233)
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Chapter 7

PSYC 3480 Chapter 7: Psych of Women - Chapter 7

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PSYC 3480

Menstrual Pain o Also known as dysmenorrhea o Women who report higher levels of menstrual pain and discomfort are also more likely to report high levels of psychological stress in their lives and poorer health, they are also more likely to smoke and to consume alcohol o The cause of menstrual discomfort is thought to be prostaglandins hormonelike chemicals secreted by the uterine lining and other tissues as menstruation approaches o These substances cause uterine contractions, decreased blood flow, and increased sensitivity to pain, which lead to cramping o Women who suffer from severe menstrual pain often have unusually high levels of prostaglandins Attitudes toward Menstruation o Menstrual myths and taboos still exist, although in a somewhat less extreme form o E.g. some adolescent girls and women believe that menstruating women should not exercise, swim or wash their hair o Many euphemistic terms are used to avoid the word menstruation (period, aunt flow, that time of the month) how many of these terms are positive? o Many Americans believe a woman cannot function normally when menstruating o College men and women both perceived menstruating women, compared to average women as being more irritable, angry, sad, less energized, and less sexy o Men, but not women, also saw her as annoying, unreasonable, spacey, less nurturing, less reliable and dependable, less creative, and more disagreeable and spiteful Menstrual Joy o Menstrual Joy Questionnaire (MJQ) lists positive feelings that might be experienced before or during menstruation (selfconfidence, creativity, and power) o Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) lists negative feelings that might occur before or during menstruation (irritability, anger, fatigue) o Women who completed the MJQ before they were given the MDQ report less menstrual distress and more favourable attitudes toward menstruation than those who received questionnaires in the reverse order o Findings that menstruation has some positive aspects did not generate a lot of media publicity or subsequent research this illustrates the womenasaproblembias psychologists preference for studying negative aspects of womens lives Premenstrual Syndrome o A small minority of women experience symptoms so severe that their normal functioning is impaired for a week each month proceeding menstruation these women are considered to suffer from premenstrual syndrome
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