Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Tagatz, Glenn

Second Advisor

Dupuis, Adrian

Third Advisor

Ivanoff, John


Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is very complex and still not completely understood. Although there exists a more uniform understanding about the definitions and methods of diagnosing PMS, there lacks a consensus about the etiology of PMS and effective treatments for this elusive syndrome. It is now recognized by many professionals that PMS is a real problem for many women. Now that the syndrome has been better defined and can be more uniformly diagnosed, it seems logical to attempt to ascertain etiological factors and appropriate treatment modalities for PMS. The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of phototherapy (a treatment modality) positively influenced the emotional symptoms by reducing them for women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome. Twenty-one women (n = 21) were randomly assigned to three study groups, with each study group consisting of seven subjects. The participants were asked to fill out the Moos Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) for seven evenings prior to menses for three consecutive months. All three study groups collected data for the first month (time period one) without the use of light. The first treatment group, used a low light box (1500 lux) during the second month of the study (time period 2) and a high light box (2500 lux) for the third month of the study (time period three). Study group two used highlight for time period two and low light for time period three. Study group three did not use light for month two nor month three, and was considered the control group of the study. The MDQ was completed by the subjects each of seven sequential days prior to menses. The procedure was repeated for three months, for a total of 21 times. A score for the time period (month) was created by averaging the subjects' responses throughout the time period for each question subscore computed. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare the score of the light MDQ subscales for each of the subjects to each study group. At a significance level of 0.05, no significant differences among the study groups was found for the MDQ subscales representing pain, negative affect, concentration, behavior change, water retention, autonomic reaction, lack of control, and arousal. Although this particular study did not achieve statistical significance, there continues to be a need to look at treatment for PMS symptomatology in a clinical setting. Until a cause or a number of causes can be found, individual symptoms will continue to be treated in clinical settings. Clinicians need tools to help women quantify and treat their symptoms. Research in this area is an avenue to that end.



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