Original article| Volume 20, ISSUE 4, P287-293, July 2010

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Military Women's Attitudes Toward Menstruation and Menstrual Suppression in Relation to the Deployed Environment: Development and Testing of the MWATMS-9 (Short Form)



      To determine military women's attitudes toward menstruation and menstrual suppression with oral contraceptives in the deployed environment.


      A cross-sectional descriptive design with the administration of the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (MAQ) and the 55-item Military Women's Attitudes Towards Menstrual Suppression Scale (MWATMS) to a convenience sample (n = 278) of women in the U.S. Army with deployment experience.


      The MAQ's five subscales' mean scores ranged from 3.4 (±1.11) to 5.1 (±1.06), indicating neutral to moderate attitudes toward menstruation. Measurement development on the MWATMS produced a nine-item scale with three components: stress effects, benefits to self, and environmental barriers.


      Menstrual attitudes were generally neutral in this sample; however, military women favor menstrual suppression during deployment owing to the effects of stress during deployment, benefits that suppression would provide, and the barriers to menstrual hygiene in the deployed environment. Women who perceived menstruation as bothersome and debilitating had positive attitudes toward menstrual suppression. These findings can contribute to appropriate predeployment women's health care and improve the readiness for deployment in female soldiers. Providers should educate women on the risks and benefits of menstrual suppression methods and provide guidance on impact that the deployed environment can have on their menstrual experiences.
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      Dr. Trego holds a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of Washington and has 18 years of experience in military nursing and women's health. She is a Nurse Scientist at a regional military medical center and has served in Iraq.


      Dr. Jordan holds a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Rhode Island. She currently works as a methodologist, grantwriter, and statistician in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her expertise is in biomedical technologies, health behavior change, psychophysiological monitoring, and women's health.