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Sailing the Stormy Seas: The Illness Experience of Persons with Parkinson’s Disease
The Qualitative Report (2010)
  • Melinda Hermanns, University of Texas at Tyler
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive disorder with no known cause or promising cure. While substantial information is known about the pathophysiology, little is known about the illness experience of living with the disease. A qualitative study using an ethnographic approach was conducted to provide a rich understanding of the illness experience. The illness experience was apprehended through field work in two support groups and the personal accounts of 14 participants with Parkinson’s disease. The metaphor, “Sailing the Sea in The Eye of the Storm,” is the overarching theme and was chosen to conceptualize the voyage of persons living with Parkinson’s disease. Two prevailing sub-themes were Daily Negotiations in the Midst of Uncertainty and Reconstruction of the Self. 
  • Parkinson’s Disease,
  • Self-Management,
  • Chronic Illness,
  • Metaphor,
  • Ethnography
Publication Date
March, 2010
Publisher Statement
Published in The Qualitative Report
Citation Information
Hermanns, M. L., & Engebretson, J. (2009). Sailing the Stormy Seas: The Illness Experience of Persons with Parkinson's Disease. The Qualitative Reports, 2(15), 340–369.