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Internet Conversations About Premenstrual Dysphoria: A Content Analysis of PMDD Internet Forums

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Title: Internet Conversations About Premenstrual Dysphoria: A Content Analysis of PMDD Internet Forums
Author: Regis, Chantal
Department: Department of Psychology
Program: Psychology
Advisor: Grand, Michael
Abstract: The present study examined the premenstrual dysphoria (PMD) concerns and acts of social support, expressed by individuals in Internet forums related to Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). For 182 posts which had initiated a discussion thread, a content analysis was conducted with respect to six broad categories of concerns related to the experience of PMD: a) interpersonal consequences b) intrapersonal consequences c) functional consequences d) physical symptoms e) diagnostic concerns and f) intervention concerns. Of the posts examined for PMD concerns, women authored 92.9%, men 1.6% and for 5.5% of the posts the sex of the poster could not be determined. The 525 reply posts from the same discussion threads were subsequently content analysed for the presence of four types of social support behaviours: a) emotional support, b) information support c) network support and d) tangible support. The content analysis revealed that 156 (86.3%) of the initial discussion posts contained at least one reference to a PMD related concern. The experience of intrapersonal symptoms and seeking a treatment for PMD were mentioned most frequently. Concern about finding an official diagnostic label for one’s cluster of symptoms was mentioned least frequently. Within the reply messages, the content analysis revealed that, of the 357 (68%) reply posts with one instance of social support, more than half of those messages offered emotional support and information support. Network support was least frequently observed and tangible support was not observed in the reply messages. Results suggested that individuals who post on Internet forums related to PMDD have a variety of concerns related to the experience of having severe premenstrual symptoms that are perceived to be PMDD. Additionally, these online communities are a place where social support is offered primarily in the form of emotional and information support. Implications for interventions, psycho-education and suicidal hotline information offered via the Internet are discussed.
Date: 2016-06
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