Disruption of the Silenced Self: The Case of Premenstrual Syndrome

Jane M. Ussher and Janette Perz

in Silencing the Self Across Cultures

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398090
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776900 | DOI:
Disruption of the Silenced Self: The Case of Premenstrual Syndrome

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This chapter challenges the common pathologizing view of premenstrual change that characterizes premenstrual symptoms as representing a psychological or biomedical disorder. The authors present a contrasting view and argue that premenstrual symptoms are more accurately characterized as a disruption in the self-silencing that women engage in for 3 weeks of the month. Drawing upon their interviews with women, they describe the contextual and intrapsychic factors that combine to produce the premenstrual expression of anger, irritation, or sadness. The chapter argues that dismissing premenstrual distress as illness serves to silence women and contributes to a cycle of further emotional suppression, followed by premenstrual emotional eruption.

Keywords: premenstrual syndrome; pathologization; depression; anger; suppression; self-silencing; silencing the self scale

Chapter.  10696 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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