Thursday, July 22, 2004
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Thursday, July 22, 2004
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Posters I
Relationship of Cortisol Levels to Perimenstrual Symptoms in Women With a History of Physical and/or Sexual Abuse
Anne Floyd Koci, RN, APRN, BC, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA, Ora Strickland, RN, PhD, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA, and David Cantor, PhD, Psychological Sciences Institute ((PSI), Duluth, GA, USA.
Learning Objective #1: n/a
Learning Objective #2: n/a

A history of abuse is associated with stress-related mood alterations, i.e. anger, anxiety and depression, in women. Cortisol is a major physiologic indicator of current stress and has been associated with abuse histories and severe PMS. However, little attention has been given to studying its presence in women with abuse histories across the menstrual cycle. Purpose: To examine in women the association between cortisol levels, abuse history and perimenstrual symptom (PMS) patterns, and to evaluate changes in cortisol levels across the menstrual cycle. This study evaluated the changes in cortisol levels between the follicular and luteal phases in 5 PMS groups and examined their association with PMS. The five PMS groups were 1) No-PMS, 2) Nondysphoric or physical symptoms, 3) Dysphoric PMS, 4) Dysphoric PMM (perimenstrual magnification of preexisting emotional symptoms), and 5) High Symptoms/No-PMS (high levels of primarily emotional symptoms throughout the menstrual cycle). Methods: Sample: 296 women ages 18-45 recruited from community, metropolitan Atlanta. Obtained self-report physical and sexual abuse histories via comprehensive health history. PMS patterns determined using daily symptom reports over three menstrual cycles. Salivary cortisol levels were obtained during the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. Descriptive statistics, Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA by Ranks, Spearman Rho correlations and Wilcoxon signed ranks tests were computed. Nonparametric tests were computed due to unequal variances and the ordinal nature of the PMS groups. Findings: Cortisol was significantly associated with all classifications of abuse in both follicular and luteal phases. Abuse history was modestly correlated with perimenstrual symptom pattern groups. Discussion: A history of physical and/or sexual abuse increases vulnerability to psychopathology and adverse health outcomes. Recent research indicates that abuse history may impact neurobiological functioning by altering stress-mediating substances. Abuse histories may impact menstrual variation of cortisol levels. (Funded by NIH Grant No. R01-NR02705.)

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004