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January 28, 1933

The Psychological Effects of Menstruation.

JAMA. 1933;100(4):282-283. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740040050032

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The author begins with a concise historical review of the fears, tabus and superstitions that always have surrounded menstruation. Visualizing the different expressions of these fears in different cultural levels, she ventures an interesting hypothesis on a possible connection between the psychic effect of menstruation and the medieval belief in witches. Certainly there are striking similarities between the psychic disturbances of menstruating women and the qualities attributed to witches as well as between the evil influences attributed to both. Yet methodological reasoning has shown that conclusions built only on the basis of analogies with facts of individual psychology may mislead thoroughly in the interpretation of sociological facts. To make out of this stimulating idea more than an analogy, to make it a statement of scientific value, it would be necessary to know in great detail the cultural and social background of the time concerned. Only from the exact knowledge of

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