MOOD FLUCTUATIONS: Women Versus Men and Menstrual Versus Other Cycles

Jessica McFarlane, Carol Lynn Martin, Tannis Mac Beth Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Mood fluctuations in women and men were studied both prospectively and retrospectively to determine whether cyclic changes occur over phases of the menstrual cycle, lunar cycle, and/or days of the week. The participants (15 women using oral contraceptives, 12 normally cycling women, and 15 men), who did not know the purpose of the study, recorded the pleasantness, arousal, and stability of their moods daily for 70 days (concurrent data). Later they recalled (retrospective data) their average mood for each day of the week and phase of the menstrual cycle (women only). The only evidence of mood fluctuation over the menstrual cycle in the concurrent reports was that normally cycling women reported more pleasant moods in the follicular and menstrual phase than did men and women on oral contraceptives. Women's moods fluctuated less over the menstrual cycle than over days of the week. Recollections of menstrual mood changes differed from actual changes: Women recalled more pleasant moods in the follicular phase and more unpleasant moods in the premenstrual and menstrual phases than they had reported concurrently. Bias also was evident in recollections of weekday mood fluctuations: Weekend highs were exaggerated and Monday blues were reported even though they were not reported concurrently. There was no evidence of mood fluctuations over the lunar cycle and the groups did not differ in mood stability. The retrospective reporting bias for both the mensural cycle and days of week suggests the influence of stereotypes about moods. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-223
Number of pages23
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'MOOD FLUCTUATIONS: Women Versus Men and Menstrual Versus Other Cycles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this