Poor sleep and emotion dysregulation mediate the association between depressive and premenstrual symptoms in young adult women

Jessica M. Meers, Joanne L. Bower, Candice A. Alfano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A large portion of reproductive-aged women report experiencing distressing premenstrual symptoms. These symptoms can be exacerbated by concurrent mood problems and contribute to long-term depressive risk. However, difficulty sleeping and regulating emotional responses are also associated with the premenstrual phase and represent additional, well-established risk factors for depression. The aim of this study was to investigate whether habitual sleep problems and emotion regulation strategies serve to mediate the relationship between mood and premenstrual symptoms in non-treatment-seeking young women. Participants included 265 adult women between the ages of 18 and 25 who provided retrospective self-reports of depressive symptoms, habitual sleep quality, and premenstrual symptoms for the past month. Trait-based difficulties in regulating emotions were also assessed. Greater depressive symptoms significantly predicted greater premenstrual symptoms and both poor sleep and ineffective emotion regulation were shown to mediate this relationship. Poor sleep may enhance experience of premenstrual symptoms via its well-established impact on physical, cognitive, and/or affective functioning. Similarly, an inability to effectively regulate emotional responses in general may exacerbate experience or perception of somatic and mood symptoms during the premenstrual period, contributing to mood disturbances and risk. Findings require replication in future studies using prospective designs and more diverse samples of women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351–359
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Emotion regulation
  • Premenstrual symptoms
  • Sleep

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