Investigating the relationship between stressful life events, coping style and Parkinson's disease

PhD Thesis

Underwood, H. 2011. Investigating the relationship between stressful life events, coping style and Parkinson's disease. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Department of Applied Psychology
AuthorsUnderwood, H.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

Section A gives an overview of Parkinson’s disease (PD), followed by a review of physiological and psychological literature suggestive of a relationship between stress and illness, with special consideration given to neurological disorders, including PD. Literature suggestive of direct and moderating relationships of coping style in relation to illness is then given. Finally, implications of the literature and directions for future research are considered.
Section B describes an empirical study.
Objectives. Literature suggests that a relationship exists between stressful life events (SLEs), coping style and illness. The present study aimed to investigate the direct relationships between both SLEs and coping style, and PD, and coping style as a moderator between SLEs and PD.
Design. A retrospective, correlational design was employed in the current pilot study, using correlational and multivariate methods of analysis.
Methods. Life-time experience of SLEs and coping style were measured using self-report questionnaires, and were completed by a group of people with PD (N = 19) and a group of people without PD (N = 20).
Results. Significant relationships were found between SLEs and PD, and emotion-oriented coping and PD. People who reported a higher number of SLEs were associated with a 2.6 times higher risk of having PD (OR = 2.60; 95% CI, 1.35 – 4.99) and those who reported a higher level of emotion-oriented coping had an 8% increased chance of having PD (OR = 1.08; 95% CI, 1.00 – 1.17), compared to those with fewer reported SLEs. No other significant direct effects or moderator effects were found.
Conclusions. These findings suggest an association between stressful life events and PD, and to a lesser degree between emotion-oriented coping and PD. Further research is needed to replicate and clarify findings.
Section C provides a critical appraisal of the study described in Section B. It addresses four questions posed with regard to: research skills and abilities learned, what could be done differently and why, clinical implications, and future research ideas. This section also includes personal reflection by the author of the process of carrying out the study, and of several learning points that occurred throughout the process.

KeywordsParkinson's disease, Stressful life events, Stress, Coping style
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Nov 2011
SubmittedSep 2011
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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