• nursing research;
  • middle age;
  • chronic illness;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • family health;
  • coping;
  • spouse;
  • interpretive inquiry;
  • quality of life

Spousal perspective of Parkinson’s disease in middle life

An interpretive study in America explored the experience of living with a partner who has Parkinson’s disease (PD) in middle life. Challenges experienced by eight spouses and their ways of coping with these challenges were examined. The convenience sample of five wives and three husbands were 44–58 years and had been married 4 months to 30 years. Spouses described the most significant challenges as watching their partner struggle and be frustrated; and renegotiating their lives. The coping strategies most frequently used were maintaining their own life, encouraging their partner to stay active and involved, and seeing the challenges they experienced as secondary. The context of living with a partner with Parkinson’s disease is illuminated and strategies that spouses find most effective in coping with their partners illness are identified.