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Health Psychol. 1989;8(3):355-72.

Patterns of adaptation to Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine University of California, San Francisco 94143-0900.


Forty-four 50- to 80-year-old Parkinson patients were interviewed about the effects of the disease on their lives. The Q-sort technique was used to analyze the interview data. In addition, the Symptom Checklist 90, the Mini-Mental State, and physician ratings of disease severity were obtained. Four clusters of patients were identified. Cluster I patients were sanguine and engaged; Cluster III patients were depressed and apprehensive about the future; Cluster III patients felt depressed, ashamed, and misunderstood; and Cluster IV patients were passive and resigned. Disease severity, but not demographic or other health variables, discriminated the groups. Patients with a mild to moderate impairment who adjusted effectively to their illness (Cluster I) were distinguished by an ability to put negative thoughts out of mind, by their belief that there are worse fates than having Parkinson's disease, and by efforts to influence certain aspects of their illness. The particular patterns of adaptation of the patients who were depressed and misunderstood (Cluster III) and passive and resigned (Cluster IV) seemed primarily a function of physical condition. This suggest that the degree to which personal attitudes can influence adaptation to somatic disease is limited by specific realities of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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