Quality of life, health status and caregiver burden in Parkinson's disease: relationship to executive functioning

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Jan;29(1):68-76. doi: 10.1002/gps.3970. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Objective: High-quality person-centred care for people with Parkinson's disease (PwPD) and their families relies on identifying and addressing factors that specifically impact on quality of life (QoL). Deficits in executive functions (EF) are common in Parkinson's disease, but their impact on PwPD and their caregivers is not well understood. The present study evaluated how EF contributes to QoL and health status for the PwPD and caregiver burden.

Methods: Sixty-five PwPD completed measures of QoL, health status and EF, and 50 caregivers rated the EF of the PwPD and their own burden. Multiple regression analyses examined predictors of QoL (general life, health and movement disorders domains), health status and caregiver burden.

Results: Quality of life in the health and movement disorders domains was best explained by caregiver-rated EF, whereas QoL in the general life domain was best explained by level of depression. Health status was predicted by self-rated EF, with an objective EF measure also included in the regression model. Caregiver burden was best explained by caregiver-rated EF and disease severity, with general cognition and other factors also included in the regression model.

Conclusions: Executive functions-related behavioural problems may contribute to QoL and health status in PwPD and affect caregiver burden. The findings support the view that the concepts of subjective QoL and self-assessed health status are only partially related and should not be seen as identical. Adequate strategies to reduce the impact of EF deficits are needed as this may have the potential to improve QoL in PwPD.

Keywords: ageing; coping; impact of disease; neurodegenerative; well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index