Exploring public perceptions and awareness of Parkinson’s disease: a scoping review

Sophie Crooks*, Gillian Carter, Christine Brown Wilson, Lisa Wynne, Patrick Stark, Michail Doumas, Matthew Rodger, Emma O'Shea, Gary Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurological disease affecting around 1% of people above sixty years old. It is characterised by both motor and non-motor symptoms including tremor, slow movement, unsteady gait, constipation and urinary incontinence. As the disease progresses, individuals living with the disease are likely to lose their independence and autonomy, subsequently affecting their quality of life. People with PD should be supported to live well within their communities but there has been limited research regarding what the public know about PD. This review aims to develop an understanding of how the public view people living with PD, which has the potential to aid the development of an educational resource for the future to improve public awareness and understanding of PD. The purpose of this scoping review is to review and synthesise the literature on the public perception and attitudes towards people living with PD and identify and describe key findings.

This scoping review aims to explore public perceptions and awareness of Parkinson’s Disease among diverse populations, encompassing beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, and the broader societal context influencing these perceptions.

A scoping review of the literature was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis extension for ScR (PRISMA-ScR). Four electronic databases were searched systematically (CINAHL Plus, Medline, PsycINFO and International Bibliography of the Social Sciences). The Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools (JBI) were used to assess the quality of primary studies, however, all relevant studies were considered regardless of their methodological quality. The ‘Population-Concept-Context’ framework was used in the screening process to identify eligible papers.

A total of 23 studies were included in the review representing global research in quantitative (n = 12) and mixed methods approaches (n = 11). All 23 studies adopted some aspect of cross-sectional design. Three themes emerged from the studies, the first being public knowledge of symptoms, causes and treatment of PD and this highlighted a lack of understanding about the disease. Secondly, the review identified public attitudes towards PD, highlighting the social consequences of the disease, including the association between PD and depression, isolation and loss of independence. Finally, the third theme highlighted that there was a paucity of educational resources available to help increase public understanding of PD.

Findings from this scoping review have indicated that public awareness of PD is a growing area of interest. To our knowledge, this is the first scoping review on this topic and review findings have indicated that public knowledge and attitudes towards PD vary internationally. The implications of this are that people with PD are more likely to be a marginalised group within their communities. Future research should focus on understanding the perception of the public from the perspective of people with PD, the development of interventions and awareness campaigns to promote public knowledge and attitude and further high-quality research to gauge public perceptions of PD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0291357
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2023 Crooks et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Public Awareness
  • Scoping Review
  • Evidence Synthesis
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Tremor
  • Public Opinion
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Aged


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