Demoralization and Quality of Life of Patients with Parkinson Disease

Boheng Zhu, Robert Kohn, Amar Patel, Brian B. Koo, Elan D. Louis, John M. De Figueiredo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Demoralization is quite prevalent in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Unrecognized or untreated, demoralization may progress, at times, to demands for euthanasia and the desire for suicide. Typically, patients with PD do not complain of being "demoralized"; rather, they report disruptions in the quality of their lives. Hence, early identification of disruptions in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) specifically associated with demoralization may prompt earlier recognition and treatment. Published data on such associations, however, could not be found. Alleviation of demoralization in PD is likely to improve treatment outcomes. Objective: This research aimed at identifying the disruptions of HRQoL specifically associated with the demoralization of patients with PD. Methods: Consecutive general hospital outpatients with PD (n = 95) were assessed for: demoralization, with the Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research Demoralization Scale (DCPR-D) and the Demoralization Scale (DS); depression, with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9); HRQoL, with the Parkinson Disease Questionnaire-Short Form (PDQ-8); sociodemographic variables; medical comorbidities; PD severity; and types of treatment. Results: The prevalence of demoralization was 19%. Regression analyses showed that demoralization was significantly more likely to be experienced by participants who had difficulty with mobility and felt embarrassed in public due to having PD. Demoralization explained HRQoL over and above depression. Conclusions: Stigma and perceived difficulty with mobility are associated with demoralization of PD patients, and they may signal the need for psychotherapeutic and behavioral interventions to prevent the progression to helplessness, hopelessness, demands for euthanasia, and desire for suicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-421
Number of pages7
JournalPsychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Demoralization
  • Depression
  • Parkinson disease
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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