Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Influence of Personality on Pre-Menstrual Syndrome in Athletes

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Influence of Personality on Pre-Menstrual Syndrome in Athletes

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of personality on Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) in athletes. The sample included 25 Brazilian athletes, between 18 and 49 years of age. A diary of PMS symptoms was used (based on the criteria from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, ACOG, 2000) and the Factorial Personality Inventory (Pasquali, Azevedo, & Ghesti, 1997). The Fisher exact test was used for data analysis, with p < .05. The athletes with PMS showed a strong need for performance, low need for assistance and introversión and very low need for change, while athletes without PMS demonstrated a very strong need for denial and strong needs for assistance, dominance, and persistence. There was a significant association between low denial (not submitting passively to external forces) and PMS (p < .05). It was concluded that certain personality traits may predispose athletes to react more intensely to needs and pressures produced by changes caused by the menstrual cycle, contributing to the onset of PMS.

Keywords: premenstrual syndrome, personality, athletes, menstrual cycle.

El objetivo de este estudio fue investigar la influencia de la personalidad en el síndrome premenstrual (SPM) en un grupo de atletas. La muestra incluía 25 atletas brasileños, con edades comprendidas entre los 18 y los 49 años. Se utilizó un diario de síntomas SPM (basado en el criterio del Colegio americano de obstetricia y ginecología, ACOG, 2000) y un Inventario factorial de personalidad (Pascquali, Azevedo y Ghesti, 1997). Para el análisis de datos se usó el test de Fisher, con un nivel de significación p < .05. Los atletas con SPM mostraron una alta necesidad de ejecución, baja necesidad de ayuda e introversión y muy baja necesidad de cambio; los atletas sin SPM mostraron una elevada necesidad de negación y una alta necesidad de ayuda, dominancia y persistencia. Los datos mostraron una asociación significativa entre baja negación (no sometimiento pasivo a obligaciones externas) y SPM (p < .05). Se concluye que algunos rasgos de personalidad predisponen a los atletas a rechazar en mayor medida necesidades y presiones producidas por cambios motivados por el ciclo menstrual, contribuyendo a la aparición del SPM.

Palabras clave: síndrome premenstrual, personalidad, atletas, ciclo menstrual.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a set of persistent and uncomfortable emotional and physical symptoms that negatively affect the behavior of women during their premenstrual period. Premenstrual symptoms may include, but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, irritability, confusion, explosive anger, isolation, breast pain, abdominal discomfort, edema, and others (ACOG, 2000).

Due to the diversity and frequency of the occurrence of these symptoms, it is difficult to establish a single cause for PMS (Valadares, Ferreira, Correa Filho, & Romano-Silva, 2006). It is known that hormonal changes resulting from the ovulatory-menstrual cycle play a fundamental role. However, studies have not succeeded in justifying the etiology of PMS only via hormonal means (Dickerson, Mazyck, & Hunter, 2003). This suggests that other factors, such as personality characteristics, may be related to PMS (Rubinow & Schmidt, 2006), since, despite that fact that most women basically experience the same hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle (Dickerson et al., 2003), only some experience PMS. It is believed that these women may have vulnerable personality traits, which, in response to some triggering stimulus, bring premenstrual symptoms to the fore (Halbreich, 1997).

Some personality characteristics have been associated with how individuals perceive daily events. A study from Librán (2006) showed that neuroticism is one of the variables that most predisposes subjects to experience a low level of wellbeing. In terms of gender, it is known that both clinical variables and personality differences may predispose more women than men to some psychological disorders, such as depression (Carrillo, Rojo, & Staats, 2004). …

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