Effects of oral contraceptives on daily self-ratings of positive and negative affect
Master of Arts
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The present study examined whether duration of oral contraceptive (OC) use could account for the inconsistent findings of previous studies on the relationship between affect and OC use. This study was the first to examine positive affect variability and to directly compare early, late, and never users of OCs, The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) were filled out daily for 35 days by 9 6 female university students (17 first-time OC users, 34 long-time users, and 45 neverusers). Despite predictions to the contrary, no group differences were found for negative affect, positive affect, or affect variability. However, exploratory analyses suggested that OC type (monophasic vs. triphasic) has a differential effect on positive affect variability across the menstrual cycle for first-time and long-time OC users. Neither somatic symptoms or somatic symptom variability could entirely account for these differences. The overall findings suggest that while no common change in affect or affect variability occurs in all women taking OCs, OC type (a pharmacological factor), duration of use, and individual difference variables may warrant further exploration as mediating variables in OC-related affect changes. Finally, while the main results found no support for the role of the “survivor effect" as an artifactual confound, the results of an exploratory comparison suggest that for specific groups of women, it may be a confound.