Exploring premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in the work context: a qualitative study

Claire Hardy, Jenna Hardie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


This study aims to explore women’s experience of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in the workplace, and identify if organizations can do anything to help. Analysis of 15 semi-structured interviews, using an inductive thematic analysis approach, revealed the most common symptoms women experience at work include difficulty in concentrating, self-doubt, paranoia, fatigue, tearfulness, a heightened sensitivity to the environment and people, outbursts, and finding social interaction particularly difficult during this premenstrual “episode” phase. It is these symptoms that contribute to observed presenteeism and absenteeism in the work context. After symptoms disappear (with onset of menstruation), women reported feelings of guilt and engage in over-compensatory behaviors such as working longer hours and taking work home during the remainder of the menstrual cycle (i.e. post-episode phase). Women alternate between these phases every month, which over time, accumulate and have additional consequences. Women are leaving the workforce through voluntary and/or involuntary turnover, sometimes giving up on careers entirely. The interviews also highlighted that organizations need greater awareness and support mechanisms in place for helping female employees with this condition. These findings could be of interest and have relevance to researchers, employers, policymakers, and health professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology
Issue number4
Early online date21 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


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