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May 29, 1967

Suicide and the Menstrual Cycle

Author Affiliations

From the departments of psychiatry (Dr. Mandell) and psychology (Mrs. Mandell), University of California, Los Angeles, Center for the Health Sciences.

JAMA. 1967;200(9):792-793. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120220094022

DALTON,1 after analyzing admission records in two large English mental hospitals, reported an interesting relationship between phase of the menstrual cycle and time of admission for (1) acute psychiatric disturbance, (2) attempted suicide, and (3) depressive illness. In each of these categories, the highest incidence occurred during the first four days of menstruation; the second highest was during the four premenstrual days, and the third highest was in midcycle. Because of the lag factors involved with hospital admission (calling, scheduling, etc), we wondered if the maximum psychiatric disturbance was actually in the premenstrual period (more popularly believed to be the time of maximum upset) rather than in the early menstrual days as indicated in this study. An opportunity to use what we thought would be a more responsive variable, requiring less time and movement on the part of the patient, became available to us—telephone calls to the Los Angeles