Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. James Petersen

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kramer

Third Advisor

Dr. Gerald Markle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Premenstrual syndrome was first reported in 1931, but it was not until the early 1980s that it received widespread attention in the medical literature and the popular press. This thesis is a sociological analysis of how physicians and others were able to define premenstrual problems as an illness. The thesis uses a phenomenological approach, referred to as social constructionism, to explore how medical researchers, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, feminists, various entrepreneurs, and others have attempted to define premenstrual problems to promote their own interests. The analytic method is documentary analysis. The thesis argues that physicians were able to make powerful claims, and mobilize political power and vested interests to create a new medical label, and that, moreover, that label has been used by a male dominated medical profession to socially control women.

Included in

Sociology Commons