Attitudes regarding the etiology and treatment of depression in Parkinson's disease: a qualitative study

J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2008 Jun;21(2):123-32. doi: 10.1177/0891988708316862.


Depression in Parkinson's disease (dPD) remains under recognized and under treated. As patients' beliefs may impact the reporting and treatment of depression, this study assessed the opinions of 38 dPD patients, approximately half with a self-reported poor response to antidepressant treatment, regarding the etiology and treatment of their depression using a semi-structured, audio-taped, qualitative interview. About half of the participants listed PD itself as a primary cause for their depressive symptoms, with most in this group citing psychosocial factors rather than PD-related neurobiological factors. Antidepressant therapy, psychotherapy, and self-initiated approaches were noted as preferred treatments for dPD. Many had concerns about antidepressant therapy, listing side-effects and medication dependency most frequently. About half raised concerns about psychotherapy with trust/discomfort, stigma, and transportation issues most frequently mentioned. This preliminary study suggests that many PD patients with clinically significant depressive symptoms attribute their depression to psychosocial factors and endorse nonpharmacologic treatment approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Comorbidity
  • Culture*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sick Role
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents