The Experience of Persons with Parkinson’s Disease: a Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Exploration

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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  • 1 Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, USA
  • 2 Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, USA

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Abstract

This study seeks to understand the subjective experience or lived world typical of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). It uses qualitative methodology, grounded in a hermeneutic-phenomenological perspective, to consider lived experience in a small sample of 7 individuals (4 published accounts, 3 subjects interviewed in depth). The analysis identified four themes that appear to be characteristic of the experience of PD: A) Denial, B) Emotion and symptom expression, C) Volitional and spontaneous action, and D) Alteration of temporal perspective. Concepts from existential-phenomenological philosophy (including the notions of “bad faith,” reflective versus pre-reflective experience, being-in-itself versus being-for-itself, and temporality) were used to reflect upon these themes to achieve a synthetic account of the subjective experience of PD. The findings of the study are compared to other findings in the phenomenological literature, and suggestions for further research are posed.

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