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Title: Living with Parkinsonism : does dance help improve the quality of movement, functions and everyday activities?
Author: McGill, Ashley
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 4928
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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The following thesis aims to understand the physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits of a weekly ballet class for people living with Parkinson’s. Although dance has shown to be a beneficial activity for this group of people, recent research has placed a strong emphasis on the physical benefits. There is a lack of research looking at how participation in dance may also impact upon activities of daily living and level of participation in society. The present thesis proposes a new framework for dance for Parkinson’s research that places equal emphasis on these factors while also recognising how personal and environmental contextual factors may play a role in how the dance classes are experienced. To assess changes across a two-year time period the study used a mixed methods approach and used a control group of people with Parkinson’s who did not take part in dance. Quantitative assessments included biomechanical measures of gait (step and stride variability, trunk coordination, and trunk range of motion), the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, and the Dance for Parkinson’s Questionnaire (DPQ). Qualitative assessments included one-to-one semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, informal conversations with participants, and observation of the ballet classes. Quantitative results demonstrated a lack of significant physiological change when assessing the group as a whole. However, individual case studies revealed that some dancing participants saw clinically meaningful change across time with respect to variables assessing physical functioning. Qualitative data demonstrated that participants valued the ballet classes for a variety of reasons. Comments from interviews and group discussions showed that the social inclusion, the level of enjoyment gained from moving to music, the cultural and educational experiences were all reasons why participants continued to attend the classes and gain benefit from them. Although the present thesis did not demonstrate significant physical benefit from the weekly ballet classes, qualitative data suggests that participants gained important psychological, social, and emotional benefit as a result of participating in this programme.
Supervisor: Houston, Sara Sponsor: English National Ballet ; Westminster Council ; Paul Hamlyn Foundation ; BUPA
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Parkinson's ; Dance ; Ballet ; Gait ; Balance ; Activities ; Participation