The Menstrual Practices Questionnaire (MPQ): development, elaboration, and implications for future research


High-quality evidence is needed to inform policies and programmes aiming to improve menstrual health. Quantitative studies must address the many evidence gaps in this field, and practitioners have increased monitoring and evaluation efforts to track their progress. A significant barrier to improving the rigor of this work is the lack of comprehensive and comparable measures to capture core concepts. The Menstrual Practices Questionnaire (MPQ) is a new tool to support comprehensive and standardised assessment of the activities undertaken in order to collect, contain, and remove menstrual blood from the body in self-report surveys. The questionnaire is freely available online for download and can be adapted for use across contexts and age groups. In this article, we describe the purpose of the MPQ as a best-practice tool to align the description of menstrual practices and provide a foundation for further question refinement. We outline the development of the tool using systematic review of qualitative studies of menstrual experiences, audit of measures used in the study of menstrual health and hygiene, survey of experts, insights from past research, and examples from piloted questions in a survey of adolescent girls in Soroti, Uganda. We describe the identification of menstrual practices as a priority for measurement, coverage of practices included in the MPQ, and justify the inclusion of location-specific questions. For each section of the questionnaire, we outline key reasons for the inclusion of practice items alongside elaboration for users to help inform item selection. Finally, we outline priorities for future research to refine the assessment and reporting of menstrual practices, including the identification of minimum reporting requirements for population characteristics to facilitate comparison across studies, testing the extent to which experiences during the most recent menstrual period reflect those over longer time periods, and further exploration of biases in self-report.

Keywords: Menstrual health; menstrual hygiene; outcome assessment; reproductive health; survey; women’s health.

Author Hennegan, J., Nansubuga, A., Akullo, A., Smith, C., & Schwab, K. J.
Journal Global health action
Published 15 October 2020
Volume 13
Issue 1
Pagination 1829402
DOI 10.1080/16549716.2020.1829402