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Positive Psychological Predictors of Psychological Health in Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease


Introduction:

  • While it is well-known that Parkinson’s disease (PD) presents with motor and non-motor symptoms, it is the perception of the person with Parkinson’s disease and one’s psychological well-being that will largely guide the “interpretation” of quality of life and life satisfaction.
  • PD is associated with high rates of psychological problems including depression, anxiety, and stress.
  • Negative emotional well-being in PD is hypothesized to stem from, in part, negative thoughts related to changes in identity and feeling a lack of control (Garlovsky et al., 2016) and from negative illness representations (Evans & Norman, 2009).
      • Illness representations are a person’s beliefs and expectations about PD.

Purpose of the study:

  • In addition to looking at how PD negatively affects psychological health, research should also examine how Parkinson’s positively affects individuals and their health-related quality of life (Martinez-Martin, 2017; Suzukamo, Ohbu, Kondo, Kohmoto, & Fukuhara, 2006).
  • Theoretically, if individuals think more positively about negative circumstances, it would enable them to cope better, which can produce better outcomes (Linley & Joseph, 2004).
  • Minimal research has explored positive psychological factors in relation to psychological health in this particular population.
  • The present study focuses on three areas of positive cognition (positive thinking) that could impact functioning: self-compassion, optimism, and posttraumatic growth.
      • These aspects of positive thinking were chosen because they are commonly explored in positive psychological research, but they have not been explored in individuals with PD, and there are practical implications for treatment.

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