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Perceptions of cause and control of impulse control behaviours in people with Parkinson’s disease

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)522-535
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Objectives. Impulse control behaviours (ICBs) have been a recent focus of research in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the current literature is largely limited to a biomedical understanding and gaps remain in our understanding of the perceived cause of these behaviours and how people themselves experience them. Consequently, this study sought to investigate how people with PD perceive the cause and controllability of their ICB.

Design. The study utilized qualitative methodology involving semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) allowed an in-depth exploration of the subjective experience of ICBs.

Methods. Ten people with idiopathic PD and current or recent history of ICBs were recruited from an existing research participant pool.

Results. The themes that arose from the participants’ accounts were ‘Conflicting views on causality’, ‘Impulse control behaviours as a coping strategy’, and ‘The relationship between causal attribution and perceived controllability’.

Conclusion. Participants’ beliefs about the cause of ICBs varied from externalized cause (medication) to internalized (coping with the impact of PD). These causal attributions were fundamental to the perceived controllability of the behaviours and psychological benefits. Further research is warranted to explore a psychosocial viewpoint of this feature of PD and to provide appropriate and effective biopsychosocial interventions.