Correlates of spiritual wellbeing in persons living with Parkinson disease

Lindsay Penny Prizer, Benzi M. Kluger, Stefan Sillau, Maya Katz, Nicholas Galifianakis, Janis M. Miyasaki


Background: Spirituality influences chronic disease coping skills through both positive and negative means. Although previous research notes similar associations between faith and Parkinson disease (PD) management, little is known about spirituality in the context of PD management in a palliative setting. The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the association between spirituality and PD management to best maximize the effect of spiritual counseling in treatment of the disease.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional analysis of the baseline data of a larger randomized, controlled trial. Individuals with PD and their caregivers were recruited from three study sites with currently-operating outpatient movement disorders and palliative care programs. Correlations were conducted between FACIT total scores and subscales with hypothesized associative factors, such as quality of life (QOL), mood and cognition, advance care planning, and physical symptoms.
Results: Two-hundred and ten PD patients and 175 caregivers participated in the study. FACIT scores correlated positively with older age, existence of a caregiver, and involvement in support groups. Higher spirituality was associated with less impairment in QOL, lower anxiety, lower depression, fewer non-motor symptoms, reduced palliative symptoms, and less prolonged grief. There was no significant association between patient FACIT scores and the MDS UPDRS or MoCA scores.
Conclusions: These results highlight the influences of spirituality in PD management and further support the holistic, interdisciplinary care provided to PD patients through palliative care teams offering chaplaincy support to patients.