Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Andrew Johnson

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Lee

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Jenkins


Although some research has focused on the needs of caregivers for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, most has focused on the demands associated with the physical needs of the patient, and not on ‘mental burden.’ The present study utilized the repertory grid method to capture the full range of caregivers’ subjective experience, to quantify their perceptions, and to acquire information that might be useful in direction remediation attempts. Results suggest that the main concern of caregivers is spousal safety, as this requires continuous vigilance and constant worry. This demonstrates the strain of mental burden far outweighs the physical. Caregivers also report experiencing “little deaths” as the disease progresses, related to loss of independence for the couple, and the steady diminishment of social networks. Increasing attention on spousal caregivers promises to increase quality of care and quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, by improving quality of life for the caregiver.



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