Continuity challenges of Parkinson's disease in middle life

J Neurosci Nurs. 1999 Aug;31(4):200-7. doi: 10.1097/01376517-199908000-00001.


This interpretive study explored the experience of having Parkinson's disease (PD) in middle life. The researcher examined how persons with PD (N = 16) coped with challenges to their sense of self and a future of limited horizons. Participants were ages 42-59 years (mean age = 48 years) and had been diagnosed for a range of 1-16 years. In-depth interviews, focusing on day to day experiences, coping episodes and future hopes and concerns, were conducted on 3 occasions. Findings indicated that participants maintained an intact identity by sustaining a sense of continuity with their pre-Parkinson's self. They dealt with the progressive nature of their illness of by keeping open a range of possibilities for the future. This study advances understanding of the challenges experienced by those with PD and suggests ways in which nurses may be able to be more effective in supporting individuals who are living with this disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Parkinson Disease / nursing
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept
  • Sick Role*