Evaluation of quality of life and psychological aspects of PD patients who participate in a support group.

The objective of this study was to analyze the QoL, motor capacity, depression, anxiety and social phobia of individuals who attended a patient support group (PSG) compared to non-participants.

A cross-sectional study was performed. The sample consisted of 20 individuals with PD who attended a PSG and another 20 PD patients who did not attend a support group for PD patients, serving as the control group (nPSG). All patients answered questionnaires on motor capacity (UPDRS), QoL (Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire- PDQ-39), depression (Beck Depression Inventory), anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory) and social phobia (Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale). To determine data distribution, the Shapiro-Wilk test was performed. For comparison of means, Student’s t-test was applied. In cases of asymmetry, the Mann-Whitney test was employed. To assess the association between the scales, Pearson’s correlation coefficient (symmetric distribution) and Spearman’s coefficient (asymmetric distribution) were applied. For the association between qualitative variables, Pearson’s Chi-squared test was performed. A significance level of 5% (p≤0.05) was adopted.

Individuals in the PSG had a significantly better QoL (p=0.002), and lower depression (p=0.026), anxiety (p<0.001) and social phobia (p=0.01) scores compared to the nPSG. The participation of PD patients in social activities such as support groups is associated with better QoL and fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and social phobia.