Perceptions of Health and Somatic Sensations in Women Reporting Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

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Focus on bodily sensations may be involved in the etiology of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This study investigated the relationship between two types of somatic self-focus (i.e., health anxiety and anxiety sensitivity) and health-related quality of life (QOL) in women with provision diagnoses of PMS and PMDD. On the basis of responses to a screening measure, 731 college women were divided into three groups: PMDD, Moderate/Severe PMS, and Mild/No PMS. Measures included health-related QOL, health anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and trait anxiety. Women with provisional diagnoses of PMDD and moderate/severe PMS reported higher levels of health anxiety and anxiety sensitivity. These relationships were not accounted for by trait anxiety. Furthermore, women in the PMDD and Moderate/Severe PMS groups reported lower health-related QOL. There is a significant health-related QOL burden for college women with PMDD and PMS. Health anxiety and anxiety sensitivity may contribute to the etiology of premenstrual disorders.

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