Category: Parkinsonism, Others
Objective: To explore the use of figurative language by individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) describing their experience during OFF periods.
Background: OFF periods are characterized by the reemergence of motor and non-motor symptoms in individuals with PD and often negatively impact daily functioning. Though prevalent among the PD population, individuals’ experiences are heterogenous and may be difficult to articulate to others. Understanding how PD patients use figurative language to explain OFF episodes could help improve patient-physician communication.
Method: Individuals with self-reported PD participating in the online Fox Insight study were invited to participate in an online survey about OFF periods. Those endorsing OFF periods were asked “In the space provided below please describe your experience when you are OFF”. Open-ended free-text responses were reviewed and instances where any type of figurative language was used were selected and classified.
Results: Of the 2,128 respondents, 86 participants used figurative language. This sample was 64% female (n=55), mean age 65.3 (SD 7.8) years and disease duration 7.7 (SD 5.0) years. Similes and metaphors were the most frequent types of figurative language used. The motif most frequently referenced was viscous materials (20.9%) (“I feel like I am walking through mud”), followed by specific objects (17.4%) (“feels like I have a rod in my back”) and chemical or physiological reactions (15.12%) (“I become ‘wired’ as well, as if I had used too much caffeine”). Confinement imagery was also seen (trapped inside body, straight jacket). In some instances, specific PD symptoms could be inferred (for example, viscous material to describe effort required for movement), but in other instances interpretation was difficult.
Conclusion: Individuals with PD may use figurative language to illustrate OFF periods. Given the subjective interpretation of figurative language, clarifying what patients are trying to convey through imagery is important and could enhance patient-physician communication.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:B. Edison, S. Mantri, M. Daeschler, C. Kopil, C. Marras, S. Kahl, L. Chahine. Use of Figurative Language in Describing OFF Periods in Parkinson’s Disease [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2020; 35 (suppl 1). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/use-of-figurative-language-in-describing-off-periods-in-parkinsons-disease/. Accessed December 5, 2023.
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MDS Abstracts - https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/use-of-figurative-language-in-describing-off-periods-in-parkinsons-disease/