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Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Niall Shanks, Martha Copp

Committee Members

Anthony P. Cavender


Many women self-report discomfort, depression, mood changes, and irritability in conjunction with menstruation which has been termed Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Prior to the creation of the disease/disorder category PMS, disorders with similar symptoms like “hysteria” and “involutional melancholia” were ascribed to women reporting those types of complaints. These diagnoses were based on archaic claims about women’s anatomy and behavior. Modern medical researchers contend that women’s complaints have a physiological basis, yet they cannot definitively tie PMS to any specific physiological etiological pathway, either hormonal or neurological. This thesis explores the argument that the social norms for women’s roles and their associated behaviors are related to the appearance of a disease/disorder category named PMS in the United Kingdom and the United States. Many of women’s complaints may instead be symptoms of social problems (with social remedies) related to role conflict or role strain.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.