Effect of menstruation on academic performance among college women.

Archives of sexual behavior

Many studies report that women’s performance and affective patterns fluctuate with their menstrual cycle. Poor mental performance is generally more common during menstruation and for several days prior to onset. Research on academically advanced women, however, has shown that their scholastic performance is less likely to exhibit the usual menstrual decline. Presumably, they are motivated enough to exert a compensatory effort on "off-days." Thus the current research was designed to test whether, among college women, academic performance fluctuates with the menstrual cycle. The academic performance of volunteers in and introductory college psychology course was followed. Biweekly course tests were used to measure performance. The subjects filled out menstrual calendars, indicated their SAT scores, and answered questions from a standardized test of academic motivation. Following the convention of past research, the "paramenstruum" (the time of menstrual stress) was defined to be the 4 days prior to onset and the first 4 days of menstruation. The other days in the cycle comprise the "intermenstruum." On all eight tests, the difference between paramenstrual and intermenstrual performance (adjusted for aptitude and motivation) was insignificant.