Social Comparisons, Social Support, and Self-Perceptions in Group Exercise for People With Parkinson's Disease

Tammy L. Sheehy, Meghan H. McDonough, S. Elizabeth Zauber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


People with Parkinson's disease (PD) may experience declining function and limited interaction with others with PD. Group exercise provides opportunities for physical accomplishment and social support, as well as potential social challenges. We used interpretative phenomenological analysis to examine experiences of social comparison, social support, and self-perceptions of 20 people with PD in group exercise. Participants experienced (a) reticence evolving to inspiration, (b) anxiety relief through camaraderie and breaking taboos, and (c) maintaining athletic identity through participating and helping others. Practical implications include facilitating a safe space and support to alleviate anxiety and sustain participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-303
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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