Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Marie-Christine Goodworth, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Kathleen A. Gathercoal, Ph.D

Third Advisor

William Buhrow, Psy.D


International research suggests dysmenorrhea is a common problem among young adult women, with a significant impact on their daily functioning. However, limited research has been conducted on dysmenorrhea in young women in the U.S. The current study analyzed the prevalence, impact, and treatment of dysmenorrhea among 976 young adult women living within the U.S. Using a cross-sectional design, a questionnaire based on previous literature was created. It was then distributed to women between the ages of 18-28 through university email and participant initiated social media distribution. The mean age of participants was 22.27, 85% endorsed dysmenorrhea. Seventy percent of women rated their average menstrual cramping as moderate to severe on the Numeric Pain Rating Scale, and 70% endorsed experiencing at least one incidence of severe pain within the last 6 months. Moderate positive correlations were found between level of menstrual cramping and limitations in work around the home, physical activity, and social leisure activity. Additionally, 32% endorsed a moderate to severe impact on school. Despite high levels of pain, 49.4% of participants with dysmenorrhea had not discussed their symptoms with a healthcare provider within the last year. Forty-six percent of participants indicated it was not at all helpful to speak to their healthcare provider about their menstrual cramping. Participants endorsed using an average of 4.75 treatment strategies for their menstrual cramping, a majority of which were home remedies. Greater pain was moderately correlated with more treatment strategies used. This study suggests moderate to severe dysmenorrhea may be highly prevalent in the United States amongst college educated young women. Moderate to severe dysmenorrhea effects daily activities, and yet is not likely to be discussed at length with healthcare providers.

Included in

Psychology Commons