Reproductive cycle-associated mood symptoms in women with major depression and bipolar disorder

Jennifer L. Payne, Patricia S. Roy, Kathleen Murphy-Eberenz, Myrna M. Weismann, Karen L. Swartz, Melvin G. McInnis, Eva Nwulia, Francis M. Mondimore, Dean F. MacKinnon, Erin B. Miller, John I. Nurnberger, Douglas F. Levinson, J. Raymond DePaulo, James B. Potash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We sought to determine the prevalence of, and association between, reproductive cycle-associated mood symptoms in women with affective disorders. We hypothesized that symptoms would correlate with each other across a woman's reproductive life span in both major depression (MDD) and bipolar I disorder (BP). Methods: 2412 women with, MDD or BP were asked standardized questions about mood symptoms prior to menstruation, within a month of childbirth and during perimenopause. Lifetime rates for each of these symptom types were determined and an odds ratio was calculated correlating each of the types with the others. Results: Of 2524 women with mood disorders, 67.7% reported premenstrual symptoms. Of those at risk, 20.9% reported postpartum symptoms and 26.4% reported perimenopausal symptoms. The rates did not differ between women with MDD and BP but were significantly different from women who were never ill. The symptoms were significantly correlated in women with MDD with odds ratios from 1.66 to 1.82, but were not in women with BP. Limitations: This is a secondary analysis of a sample that was collected for other purposes and is based upon retrospecitve reporting. Conclusions: Reproductive cycle-associated mood symptoms were commonly reported in women with mood disorders and did not differ based on diagnosis. In MDD, but not BP, the occurrence of these symptoms was trait-like as the presence of one predicted the occurrence of the others. Further prospective study is required to clarify the determinants of this trait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Perimenopausal
  • Postpartum
  • Premenstrual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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