Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Sara Green, Ph.D

Keywords

Self-Awareness, Coping, Empowerment, Health

Abstract

The phenomenon known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has been researched across many disciplines including Psychology, Women's Health, Women's Studies and Sociology. It has been researched as a personal issue, a health issue, a psychological issue, and a political issue. Underlying these approaches to the study of PMS are two basic paradigms: the medical model and the social constructionist model. A rather polarized debate has emerged between the two. While both approaches have contributed to research on PMS, neither paradigm has focused particular attention on what PMS is and what it means from the perspective of the women who experience it. In this project, I have examined narrative accounts of PMS as told by eight women who identify themselves as women who report experiencing the phenomenon. Findings suggest that these women view PMS as a complex phenomenon. They seem to view this phenomenon as both a "thing," something that has a bodily nature and bodily symptoms, and also as a label. They also seem to view the label as something that can be beneficial because it gives this "thing" a name that is used and accepted in their social worlds. These findings confirm some aspects of previous research while also yielding some new insights into the lived experience of the phenomenon known as PMS.

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