Current Psychiatry Reports

, 20:106 | Cite as

Suicide Risk and the Menstrual Cycle: a Review of Candidate RDoC Mechanisms

  • Sarah A. Owens
  • Tory Eisenlohr-MoulEmail author
Reproductive Psychiatry and Women's Health (CN Epperson and L Hantsoo, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Reproductive Psychiatry and Women's Health


Purpose of Review

Risk for suicidal behavior may fluctuate across the menstrual cycle. Here, we use the RDoC framework to review potential mechanisms by which the cycle may increase acute suicide risk.

Recent Findings

The menstrual cycle impacts the majority of RDoC constructs linked to suicide risk, particularly among hormone-sensitive women, such as those with premenstrual dysphoric disorder or premenstrual exacerbation of a psychiatric disorder. Despite this, there are no published studies examining suicidal ideation, planning, or behavior longitudinally across the cycle.


More work is needed to understand how hormone sensitivity may relate to both trait and state suicide risk. Intensive multilevel investigations of cyclical hormone effects on suicide risk through specific RDoC mechanisms are suggested. This is a fertile research area and may provide key insights regarding the mechanisms of acute suicide risk.


Suicide RDoC Menstrual cycle Estradiol Progesterone 


Funding Information

This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R00MH109667), the Gia Allemand Foundation, and the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Sarah A. Owens declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Tory Eisenlohr-Moul reports grant support from the Gia Allemand Foundation, the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders, and a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R00109667).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Women’s Mental Health Research ProgramUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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