Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disorder with no known cause or promising cure. While substantial information is known about the pathophysiology, little is known about the illness experience of living with the disease. A qualitative study using an ethnographic approach was conducted to provide a rich understanding of the illness experience. The illness experience was apprehended through field work in two support groups and the personal accounts of 14 participants with Parkinson's disease. The metaphor, "Sailing the Sea in The Eye of the Storm," is the overarching theme and was chosen to conceptualize the voyage of persons living with Parkinson's disease. Two prevailing sub-themes were Daily Negotiations in the Midst of Uncertainty and Reconstruction of the Self.


Parkinson's Disease, Self-Management, Chronic Illness, Metaphor, and Ethnography


This study was funded by the Speros Martel Endowment for the Aging and the Iota Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. A special thanks to the members of my dissertation committee, Drs. Joan C. Engebretson, Nancy H. Busen, Sharon K. Ostwald, and Charles R. Walker.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.