Self-reported executive function, and not performance-based measures, strongly associates with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Frida Itzel Meza-Moreno, María José Pimienta-Alcaraz, María Fernanda Vázquez-Valdez, Cynthia Patricia Balderas-Sánchez, Aldebarán Toledo-Fernández



Introduction. Premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMS/PMDD) may be neuropsychologically understood as impairments of executive functions (EF), since these are related to the regulation of complex behavior and cognition.

Objective. To test the utility of self-report of EF versus performance-based measures, for the understanding of PMS/PMDD, and to analyze interactive effects between symptoms of these pathologies and EF on daily-life functionality.

Method. Mexican women were recruited through non-probabilistic procedures. The Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool (PSST) was used to determine severity of symptoms and functional impairment in daily-life activities, and the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functions-Adults (BRIEF-A) (short Spanish-translated version) adapted to collect information on EF during luteal versus follicular phases. Performance was evaluated with Stroop, Trail Making Test and Letter-Number Sequencing.

Results. A total of 157 were analyzed. Three groups were formed: No diagnosis (n = 78); PMS (n = 67) and PMDD (n = 12). Between-group differences were observed for both BRIEF-A-Luteal and BRIEF-A-Follicular. Bivariate correlations between these measures and the PSST were found, with double the magnitude relative to BRIEF-A-Luteal. Only two indicators of performance-based measures were weakly associated to the PSST. The regression model showed high multicollinearity between self-reported EF and PMS/PMDD symptoms, and no interaction was found.

Discussion and conclusion. Self-report probed a better association than based-performance tests for the assessment of EF in PMS/PMDD. EF deficits and PMS/PMDD symptoms, particularly during luteal phase, may be as closely link as to allow for the consideration of these diagnoses as partial forms of dysexecutive syndrome.


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; premenstrual syndrome; executive function; BRIEF-A; PSST

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