Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 61 Issue 3 (September 1988), Pages 209-304

Psychological defences and menstrual distress (pages 219-230)

Two studies considered the possible role of psychological defences and defensive awareness in the distress reported by women during the menstrual (flow) period and during the week before menstruation. Unconscious rationalization was associated with the least distress at both times among college women. The same defensive pattern also was found to be related to less menstrual and premenstrual distress among women reporting the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. None of the other three defences studied (projection, repression, and denial) was associated with menstrual or premenstrual distress. The adaptive role of rationalization was explained in terms of coping by confrontation rather than evasion when the sources of stress tend to be inevitable.

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