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A Qualitative Study on the Impact of First Steps—A Peer-led Educational Intervention for People Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Centre for Movement, Occupational and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 OBP, UK
Academic Geriatric Medicine, University of Southampton. Southampton General Hospital Mailpoint 807, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
Department of Neurology, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Level 3, West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
Parkinson’s UK Oxford Branch, Botley Women’s Institute Hall, North Hinksey Lane, Oxford OX2 0LT, UK
Norton Consulting Group, Malthouse, Main Road, Curbridge OX29 7NT, UK
European Parkinson’s Therapy Centre. Piazzale Delle Terme, 3, 25041 Dafo Boario Terme (Brescia), Italy
Department of Neurology, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London SW17 0QT, UK
Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine, University of Plymouth, N14, ITTC Building, Plymouth Science Park, Plymouth Science Park, Plymouth, Devon PL6 8BX, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(10), 107;
Received: 12 September 2019 / Revised: 1 October 2019 / Accepted: 3 October 2019 / Published: 10 October 2019
Aim: The dual aim of this research was to consider the impact of providing the First Steps program on the stories of people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and to investigate the psychosocial and emotional mechanisms which may explain this impact. Methods: A qualitative study using a subtle realist paradigm and hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was undertaken. A single semi-structured interview was used to consider the impact and experiences of people with PD who completed either the intervention (2-day peer-led behavior intervention using storytelling 6–8 weeks apart) or received telephone support calls as part of the active control group. Descriptive statistics and a narrative analysis were undertaken on the results. Results: Forty-two participants were invited to participate, forty of whom completed the interview. This included 18 from the intervention group and 22 from the active control group. The intervention group identified the value of the program as worth-while, demonstrating improved exercise behavior and coping mechanisms following the intervention. Three major stories (the affirmed, the validated and the transformed story) identified the impact of the intervention. Three internal mechanisms (perceived control, hope and action, and the individual’s mind set) alongside three social mechanisms (social comparison, social control and the first opportunity to share with peers) appeared to explain this impact. Conclusion: This study provides exciting and novel evidence of the impact of a peer-led psycho-educational intervention for people newly diagnosed with PD. Further research is needed to consider the impact of stories-based approaches on participants and consider a critical evaluation of the mechanisms which may explain changes in stories and self-reported behaviour. View Full-Text
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; therapy; storytelling; rehabilitation; illness narratives Parkinson’s disease; therapy; storytelling; rehabilitation; illness narratives
MDPI and ACS Style

Soundy, A.; Collett, J.; Lawrie, S.; Coe, S.; Roberts, H.; Hu, M.; Bromley, S.; Harling, P.; Reed, A.; Coeberg, J.; Carroll, C.; Dawes, H. A Qualitative Study on the Impact of First Steps—A Peer-led Educational Intervention for People Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 107.

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