Daily diary methodology is becoming popular in human menstrual cycle (MC) research. However, variations in MC length makes it difficult to examine fluctuations in dependent variables (e.g., substance use levels), across the MC. Existing analytic approaches collapse data across MC phases, examining phase-related changes; however, a loss of potentially vital information can result when data is collapsed across phase. Additionally, current phase designation methods (phase designation and days within each phase) vary substantially across studies, making it difficult to interpret/compare results across studies. To address these problems, two methods were developed to standardize intensive longitudinal data collected via daily diary methodologies—phasic and continuous standardization. Phasic standardization accounts for individual variability in MC length by allowing luteal phase length differences while remaining phases are fixed, enabling the analysis of phasic variations. Alternatively, continuous standardization accounts for individual variability in MC length by standardizing the luteal phase to a seven-day phase, while remaining phases are fixed, allowing for the exploration of continuously reported variables across MC day. This chapter will discuss how to standardize daily diary data collected across the MC using phasic and continuous standardization methods and demonstrate the two standardization methods using two clinically-relevant hypothetical examples.
Part of the book: Menstrual Cycle