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Associations between psychological distress in adolescence and menstrual symptoms across life: Longitudinal evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study

Martins, C; Mitchell, JJ; Hamer, M; Blodgett, JM; (2024) Associations between psychological distress in adolescence and menstrual symptoms across life: Longitudinal evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study. Journal of Affective Disorders , 354 pp. 712-718. 10.1016/j.jad.2024.03.069. Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the association between psychological distress (PD) at age 16 and menstrual symptoms experienced across women's life. METHODS: Up to 2584 females from the 1970 British Cohort Study, a study of individuals born within one week in 1970, were included. PD at age 16 was measured with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. Three categories were derived: low PD (<11), moderate PD (11–15), and severe PD (>15). Five menstrual health symptoms were self-reported at each age (16, 30 and 42 years). Binomial logistic regressions examined associations between PD at age 16 and each individual symptom, adjusted for age of menarche, sleep and appetite problems, physical activity levels and socioeconomic position. RESULTS: The most prevalent symptoms were “pain” (61 %), “painful period” (10 %) and “heavy period” (33 %) at ages 16, 30 and 42, respectively. At age 16, those with severe PD were more likely to experience depression (OR: 2.92; 95% CI: 2.31, 3.70)), irritability (1.67; 1.33, 2.11), menstrual pain (1.34; 1.01, 1.80), and headaches (1.29; 1.02, 1.63). A weak association was found between severe PD at age 16 and pre-menstrual tension at age 30 (1.72; 1.01, 2.83). At age 42, those with severe PD at age 16 were more likely to experience pre-menstrual tension (1.89; 1.46, 2.44), painful periods (1.64; 1.27, 2.11), and heavy periods (1.28; 1.00, 1.62). DISCUSSION: Menstruating females with higher levels of PD in adolescence have an increased risk of menstrual symptoms across adolescence, early and mid-adulthood. Our findings suggest the need to consider early-life psychological interventions to improve women's menstrual experiences across their reproductive years.

Type: Article
Title: Associations between psychological distress in adolescence and menstrual symptoms across life: Longitudinal evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2024.03.069
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2024.03.069
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Adolescent health, Genecology, Life course, Menstrual symptoms, Psychological distress, Reproductive health, Risk prediction
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10190589
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