Living With Parkinson’s: The Process of Finding Optimism

Julie Gardenhire, Natira Mullet, Stephen Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often experience poor mental and emotional well-being, which negatively affect their quality of life. Optimism is a protective factor which has been shown to promote resiliency, reduce distress in health crises, and protect against the effects of negative mental health outcomes. The current article utilized grounded theory methodology to examine personal accounts (N = 85) detailing how individuals were able to cultivate optimism despite challenges presented by PD. The grounded theory indicated that a process occurs in which individuals with PD move through the following five phases on their journey toward optimism: (a) diagnosis, (b) initial reactions, (c) adjustment, (d) acceptance, and (e) living with optimism. These findings indicate that individuals with PD often struggle to experience optimism. Nevertheless, by reframing optimism as a choice rather than a feeling, participants were able to make decisions that allowed them to progress on their journey toward optimism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1781-1793
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Parkinson’s disease
  • adaptation
  • coping
  • enduring
  • qualitative content analysis. online research
  • quality of life


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