Editor's Pick - journal highlights (Fall 2021)

Archives of Women's Mental Health publishes the latest research and review articles on current topics in a wide range of specialty areas. Here are some of highlights published in 2021 fall, handpicked by the Editor-in-Chief Anita Riecher-Rössler.

Resilience: a mediator of the negative effects of pandemic-related stress on women’s mental health in the USA
Shivani Kumar, Nita Karnik Lee, Elizabeth Pinkerton, Kristen E. Wroblewski, Ernst Lengyel & Marie Tobin

The role of resilience in mediating the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of women is poorly understood. Using a quota-based sample from a national panel, these authors conducted a web-based survey of 3200 US women in April 2020. As they could show low resilience was significantly associated with pandemic-related stress, depression and anxiety symptoms. Risk factors for low resilience included younger age, lower household income, lower education, unemployment, East/Southeast Asian race, unmarried/unpartnered status, and higher number of medical comorbidities. Thus, strategies proven to enhance resilience, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and addressing socioeconomic factors, may help mitigate mental health outcomes.

Symptom fluctuation over the menstrual cycle in anxiety disorders, PTSD, and OCD: a systematic review
Saria Adele Green & Bronwyn M. Graham 

Anxiety disorders are more prevalent and severe in women than men. Extant research suggests that the menstrual cycle modulates the severity and expression of anxiety symptoms across a range of disorders. This systematic review revealed evidence for exacerbation of a broad range of symptoms in a wide variety of anxiety disorders, around the weeks prior to and post menses onset. This was coincident with declining or low sex hormone levels. Menstrual fluctuations in anxiety symptoms, however, likely only occur in a subset of women.

Gender insensitive salutations in letters and correspondence sections of journals
Satish Suhas, Prabha S. Chandra & Santosh K. Chaturvedi 

Globally there is an increasing emphasis on gender-inclusive language and behavior. Although gender-inclusive language is also emphasized in scientific publishing, several journals continue to publish correspondence articles or letters to the editor, starting with the salutation “Sir”, regardless of whom they address.  Unfortunately, there in fact is still a gender imbalance among the chief editors of major scientific journals. However, despite this, the authors suggest using gender-neutral language in salutations and in correspondence sections of scientific publications. Although much more effort is needed to overcome other gender-related issues in research, gender-inclusive scientific culture should also address seemingly minor issues, such as gender-insensitive salutations in scientific manuscripts.

A population-based follow-up study shows high psychosis risk in women with PCOS
Salla Karjula, Riikka K. Arffman, Laure Morin-Papunen, Stephen Franks, Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, Juha S. Tapanainen, Jouko Miettunen & Terhi T. Piltonen

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder affecting up to 18% of women. Besides metabolic and fertility aspects, attention has lately been directed towards the detrimental effect of PCOS on psychological health. This landmark study was based on the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 and multiple national registers with follow-ups up to the year 2016. Women with PCOS (having both oligo-amenorrhea and hirsutism) showed an increased risk for psychopathological symptoms and a three-fold risk for psychosis. PCOS should be taken into consideration when treating women in psychiatric care.