Managing Menstruation: Moderating Role of Symptom Severity on Active Coping and Acceptance

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Abstract

Although research has examined women's thoughts toward menstruation, the role passive and active coping strategies play in the acceptance of menses and getting-on with daily activities remains relatively unexplored. In total, 217 undergraduate females having normal regular monthly menstrual periods completed inventories assessing severity of menstrual symptoms, cognitive and emotional representation of health state, general and specific coping strategies, and acceptance. It was found that women having a more emotionally focused representation of menstruation (passive coping style) had a heightened belief that menstruation is debilitating and bothersome and, regardless of symptom severity, scored lower in acceptance of menstruation. Conversely, women using more active strategies to cope with menstrual symptoms were observed to be more generally resourceful and to conjunctively use more palliative coping strategies. More importantly, for women experiencing high levels of menstrual discomfort, use of active coping was associated with better acceptance and getting-on with everyday activities.

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