Predictors of self-perceived stigma in Parkinson's disease

Robert D. Salazar, Emma Weizenbaum, Terry D. Ellis, Gammon M. Earhart, Matthew P. Ford, Leland E. Dibble, Alice Cronin-Golomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objective: The burden of PD extends beyond physical limitations and includes significant psychosocial adjustments as individuals undergo changes to their self-perception and how others perceive them. There is limited quantitative evidence of the factors that contribute to self-perceived stigma, which we addressed in the present study. Methods: In 362 individuals with PD (157 women, 205 men), self-perceived stigma was measured by the four-item stigma subscale of the Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39). Hierarchical linear modeling was used to assess predictors of stigma including demographics (age, gender) and disease characteristics: duration, stage (Hoehn & Yahr Scale), motor severity (Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, UPDRS, Part 3), activities of daily living (UPDRS Part 2), and depression (Geriatric Depression Scale). Predictor variables were chosen based on their significant correlations with the stigma subscale. Further analyses were conducted for men and women separately. Results: For the total sample, the full model accounted for 14% of the variance in stigma perception (p <.001). Younger age and higher depression scores were the only significant predictors (both p <.001). This pattern was also seen for the men in the sample. For the women, only depression was a significant predictor. Depression mediated the relation between stigma and activities of daily living. Conclusions: Younger age (men) and depression (men and women) were the primary predictors of self-perceived stigma in PD. Disease characteristics (motor and ADL) did not contribute to stigma perception. Depression is a potential treatment target for self-perceived stigma in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Depression
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stigma


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