Effect of internet-based counselling with a cognitive-behavioural approach on premenstrual syndrome
BMC Research Notes volume 15, Article number: 324 (2022)
To assess the effect of internet-based counselling with a cognitive-behavioural approach on symptom severity of women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and their quality of life during the perimenstrual and late follicular phases of the menstrual cycle. Moreover, the PMS-related disability and attitude toward menstruation were investigated as secondary outcomes.
We provide data generated in a randomized controlled trial with two-parallel arms carried out on 92 female university students aged 18–35 years who had moderate to severe PMS, residing at halls of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. PMS severity was assessed during two menstrual cycles before intervention (baseline) and during two cycles just after ending the two-month intervention using Daily Record of Severity of Problems (DRSP) and the quality of life using the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire—Short Form (Q-LES-Q-SF) on days 1–2 and 11–13 of the menstrual cycle at the baseline and post-intervention. Also, the PMS-related disability was assessed using Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) and attitude toward menstruation using Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (MAQ) at the baseline and post-intervention. Participant satisfaction and views on intervention effectiveness were also assessed using a single Likert question.
About 20% of women of reproductive age suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) . The syndrome leads to various consequences, including physical, psychological, behavioral, and social complications . Most previous studies show a positive effect of in-person cognitive-behavioral therapy on PMS severity [3,4,5]. However, due to some limitations such as distance and time limits, as well as cost constraints, some women are unable to access such therapy . We found only a trial, conducted in a developed country (Germany) , with promising results on the positive effect of an alternative method of the therapy named internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (ICBT) on PMS. This method has no limitations of the in-person method. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effect of internet-based counselling with a cognitive-behavioural approach on the PMS severity and the quality of life of Iranian female university students suffering from PMS. In addition, the PMS-related disability and attitude toward menstruation were investigated as secondary outcomes. The details of the experiments and analysis performed and findings based on these data have been published in 2022 .
The provided data were gathered for a randomized controlled trial with two-parallel arms carried out on 92 eligible university students aged 18–35 years residing at halls of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences which were equally allocated into the study groups.
The potentially eligible participants, selected using a checklist of initial eligibility requirements, initially completed a socio-demographic and reproductive questionnaire, as well as a validated Persian version of the 19-item Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool (PSST) . Those with a positive result in the screening provided written informed consent and filled in the 21-item Daily Record of Severity of Problems (DRSP)  during their next menstrual cycle, also completed the 21-item validated Persian version of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)  on one of the days of their mid-follicular phase (days + 7 to + 10 of the menstrual cycle). After exclusion of those with severe depression, the remaining participants completed the DRSP for the second menstrual cycle, the 3-item Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS)  and the 33-item Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (MAQ)  on day 1 or 2 of the second cycle, also 14-item of the Quality-of-Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire—Short Form (Q-LES-Q-SF)  twice (on days 1–2 and days 11–13 of the menstrual cycle). Finally, female students with moderate to severe PMS diagnosed by the DRSP were randomized into the groups.
The internet-based educational content for eight sessions was provided during two months for the intervention in a scheduled manner. The control group did not receive any intervention during the study period, but received the content after doing all post-test assessments.
Primary outcomes were the mean score of total PMS symptoms, and quality of life during the perimenstrual and the late follicular phases. Secondary outcomes were the mean scores of sub-scales of DRSP, PMS-related disability, and MAQ domains. All were assessed at baseline post-intervention.
Also, participant satisfaction with the intervention was assessed using a single 5-point Likert question, and their opinions on the effectiveness of intervention using another single 6-point Likert question.
Data have been entered in an SPSS Spreadsheet and analyzed using the software (Table 1).
It was impossible to blind the participants, healthcare providers, and outcome assessors, who were also the participants.
We could not recruit any participants from the private residence halls.
The results may not be generalizable to all women suffering from PMS since the study was included only medical students.
The long-term effectiveness of the intervention is unknown because we only follow the participants for two menstrual cycles after the end of the intervention.
Availability of data and materials
The data described in this Data note can be freely and openly accessed on [Figshare] under [https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.19082273, https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.17711141, https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.19082390]. Please see Table 1 and references [15,16,17] for details and links to the data.
Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy
Daily Record of Severity of Problems
Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire—Short Form
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool
Sheehan Disability Scale
Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire
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The present paper was extracted from a Master’s thesis registered on June 19, 2019, in the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials prospectively with the registry code of IRCT20100414003706N34 (https://en.irct.ir/trial/38394). We would like to acknowledge the officials of the residence halls for their support, as well as the students who agreed to participate in this study.
This work was sponsored by the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (Grant Number: 62582, 2019). The sponsor had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or manuscript submission for publication.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The Ethics Committee of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences approved our study protocol with the ethics code of IR.TBZMED.REC.1398.014. We followed all the ethical principles of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki for medical research involving human subjects. We obtained written informed consent from all study participants before their recruitment. Participants were ensured that their individual data will be processed in accordance with Iran’s data protection laws, which ensure their confidentiality. Also, they were aware that all deidentified individual participant data collected in this study could be shared through public databases.
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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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Borji-Navan, S., Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi, S., Esmaeilpour, K. et al. Effect of internet-based counselling with a cognitive-behavioural approach on premenstrual syndrome. BMC Res Notes 15, 324 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-022-06222-w
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Internet-based counselling
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Quality of life