Ambivalent sexism, attitudes towards menstruation and menstrual cycle‐related symptoms

Ma. Luisa Marván, Rocío Vázquez‐Toboada, Joan C. Chrisler
Published Online:
20 Nov 2013
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 49 Issue 4

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The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between ambivalent sexism and beliefs and attitudes towards menstruation, and, in turn, to study the influence of these variables on menstrual cycle‐related symptoms. One hundred and six Mexican women completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, the Beliefs about and Attitudes toward Menstruation Questionnaire and the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire. The higher scores on benevolent sexism were associated with the most positive attitudes towards menstruation and also with the belief that a menstruating woman should or should not do some activities and that menstruation keeps women from their daily activities. The higher scores on hostile sexism were associated with rejection of menstruation as well as with feelings of embarrassment about it. Beliefs about and attitudes towards menstruation predicted menstrual cycle‐related symptoms related to negative affect, impaired concentration and behavioural changes, but did not predict somatic symptoms. These results will be useful to health professionals and advocates who want to change the negative expectations and stereotypes of premenstrual and menstrual women and reduce the sexism and negative attitudes towards women that are evident in Mexican culture.

© 2013 International Union of Psychological Science