J Psychosom Res 2016 Mar 30;82:48-53. Epub 2016 Jan 30.
King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, London, UK. Electronic address:
Objective: Parkinson's disease is associated with high rates of depression. There is growing interest in non-pharmacological management including psychological approaches such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. To date, little research has investigated whether processes that underpin cognitive models of depression, on which such treatment is based, apply in patients with Parkinson's disease. The study aimed to investigate the contribution of core psychological factors to the presence and degree of depressive symptoms.
Methods: 104 participants completed questionnaires measuring mood, motor disability and core psychological variables, including maladaptive assumptions, rumination, cognitive-behavioural avoidance, illness representations and cognitive-behavioural responses to symptoms.
Results: Regression analyses revealed that a small number of psychological factors accounted for the majority of depression variance, over and above that explained by overall disability. Participants reporting high levels of rumination, avoidance and symptom focusing experienced more severe depressive symptoms. In contrast, pervasive negative dysfunctional beliefs did not independently contribute to depression variance.
Conclusion: Specific cognitive (rumination and symptom focusing) and behavioural (avoidance) processes may be key psychological markers of depression in Parkinson's disease and therefore offer important targets for tailored psychological interventions.