Examining the effects of menstruation on women's helping behaviour in the workplace

Daphna Motro, Allison S. Gabriel, Aleksander P.J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine how menstruation affects women's well-being and discretionary helping on a day-to-day basis – an important step in understanding how factors tied to women's health affect them daily at work. Using an experience sampling study with 96 women over 20 workdays (Level-1 n = 1640), results indicated that the pain experienced by women on the days they were menstruating related to increased daily depletion and negative mood. Depletion subsequently decreased helping, whereas negative mood did not. However, the positive effects of pain on depletion and negative mood were attenuated for women who had higher levels of trait-level approach motivation. Our work speaks to a biological process that is normal and recurring for half of the workforce, helping shed light on this largely ignored topic. Practitioner points: We identify the effects of menstruation on helping behaviours at work, bringing the discussion of women's health into the organizational spotlight at a time when companies are creating ‘period policies’ to help support women at work. Our findings suggest that women feel increased pain on days when they menstruate; pain, in turn, relates to increased feelings of depletion and lower helping behaviours. Scholars and practitioners should consider how these physiological shifts that are unique to women's health affect their work experiences daily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-706
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • approach/avoidance
  • depletion
  • gender
  • helping
  • menstruation
  • mood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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