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'He's Back so I'm Not Alone': The Impact of Deep Brain Stimulation on Personality, Self, and Relationships in Parkinson's Disease


Thomson, CJ and Segrave, RA and Racine, E and Warren, N and Thyagarajan, D and Carter, A, 'He's Back so I'm Not Alone': The Impact of Deep Brain Stimulation on Personality, Self, and Relationships in Parkinson's Disease, Qualitative Health Research, 30, (14) pp. 2217-2233. ISSN 1049-7323 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1177/1049732320951144


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson's disease successfully alleviates motor symptoms, but unanticipated changes in personality, self, and relationships can occur. Little is known about how these nonmotor outcomes affect patients and families. We prospectively examined the experience and meaning of DBS-related changes in personality and self for patients and caregivers. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 participants (11 patient-caregiver dyads) before and 9 months after DBS and analyzed using thematic analysis. We identified three themes present prior to DBS that reflected a time of anticipation, while three themes present after DBS reflected a process of adjustment. Participants noted both positive and negative personality changes, with some, but not all, attributing them to the stimulation. The risk of stimulation-related personality change should be weighed against the procedure's motor benefits and considered in the context of disease- and medication-related personality changes. Clinical implications including perioperative education and follow-up management are discussed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:personality, self, identity, Parkinsonís disease, deep brain stimulation, caregivers, relationships, illness experience, interviews, qualitative analysis, qualitative, semistructured, thematic analysis, South Eastern Australia
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Neurosciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Treatment of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Thomson, CJ (Dr Cassandra Thomson)
ID Code:155545
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2023-02-28
Last Modified:2023-03-06

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