The role of ovarian steroid hormones in mood

Deborah H. Schwartz, Sarah E. Romans, Soumia Meiyappan, Mary Jane De Souza, Gillian Einstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Fluctuations in ovarian hormones across the menstrual cycle have long been considered a determinant of mood in women. The majority of studies, however, use menstrual cycle phase as proxy for hormone levels. We measured ovarian hormone levels directly in order to examine the relationship between daily hormone levels and mood in non-help-seeking women. Participants (n=19) provided daily information about their positive and negative moods, and collected their first morning-voided urine for 42 days, which was analyzed for estrogen and progesterone metabolites (E1G and PdG). The independent contributions of daily E1G, PdG, stress, physical health, and weekly social support, were calculated for 12 daily mood items, and composite measures of positive and negative mood items, using linear mixed models. E1G or PdG contributed to few mood items: E1G measured 2 days prior contributed negatively to the model for Motivation, while E1G measured 3 days prior contributed negatively to Getting Along with Others, and E1G measured 4 days prior contributed negatively to Anxiety. PdG, measured the same day and 1. day prior, contributed positively to the models of Irritability, and PdG measured 5 days prior contributed positively to Difficulty Coping. By contrast, the variables stress and physical health contributed significantly to all the mood items, as well as both composite positive and negative mood measures. These findings demonstrate that, compared to stress and physical health, ovarian hormones make only a small contribution to daily mood. Thus, fluctuations in ovarian hormones do not contribute significantly to daily mood in healthy women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-454
Number of pages7
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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