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The Effects of gratitude on health-related quality of life in Parkinson's disease

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Author(s)
McGwin, Jenna M.
Advisor(s)
McFadden, Susan
Degree
MS, Psychology-Experimental
Date
May 2011
Subject(s)
Quality of life; Gratitude; Parkinson's disease - Research
Abstract
Research has consistently shown that individuals who take the time to focus on things for which they are grateful are likely to have increased well-being. However, individuals who have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, such as Parkinson's disease, may not be as likely to experience gratitude. Although prior research has demonstrated the relationship between a grateful outlook and well-being, prior research has not examined the relationship between a grateful outlook and subjective health appraisals, namely health-related quality of life. Two studies were developed to evaluate the effects of trait gratitude, and experimentally induced state gratitude on health-related quality of life in individuals with Parkinson's disease. The first study examined the relationship between trait gratitude and health-related quality of life in Parkinson's disease. Prior to analysis, the health-related quality of life variables on the Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 were reduced to three component variables: Social, Psychological, and Physical. The three component variables served as the dependent variables, and trait gratitude served as the independent variable in the analyses. The results of a simple linear regression showed that higher levels of trait gratitude were associated with lower levels of social distress in individuals with PD (p = 0.02). However, the results of another simple linear regression showed that higher levels of trait gratitude were not associated with lower levels of psychological distress. Finally, the results of a simple linear regression analysis showed that higher levels of trait gratitude were not associated with lower levels of physical distress. The second study examined the effects of conscious gratitude practice on health-related quality of life, positive affect, and negative affect in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Participants in this study were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or the positive thinking condition, and were then asked to think for one to two minutes per day, for seven days, about things in life they were grateful for or positive things in general. The results showed no difference from baseline to follow-up for health-related quality of life, positive affect, or negative affect for either condition. Although no differences were found, future research should continue to examine the effect of gratitude on health-related quality of life in individuals with Parkinson's disease. A longer study duration is recommended for future research.
Description
A Thesis submitted in a partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Psychology-Experimental
Permanent link
http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/54084 
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