Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Cynthia McRae, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Third Advisor

Trisha Raqu-Bogdan

Fourth Advisor

Lawrence Conyers


Dance, Quality of life, Parkinsons disease


The objective of the present study was to compare the effects of dance participation on physical and psychological functioning as perceived by two distinct groups of dancers: dancers with Parkinson's disease (PD) and healthy amateur (HA) dancers. Dancers in the Parkinson's sample group were gathered from participants in the Dance for PD® program, while healthy amateur dancers were recruited from university dance departments and through social media. Both groups were administered measures related to affect, self-efficacy, quality of life, and which aspects of dance classes were most helpful and/or challenging. Several open-ended questions for both groups were included, along with questions specific to each group. Results of the study indicated that there was no difference between the two groups on positive affect experienced while dancing, but that HA dancers experienced higher levels of negative affect than PD dancers. HA dancers exhibited higher levels of self-efficacy, but there was no difference between the groups on perceived quality of life. Additionally, both groups identified the same two components of dance classes as the most helpful: "moving and getting some exercise" and "doing something fun." Thematic analysis of responses to open-ended questions found that, in general, HA and PD dancers identified similar factors which made dance unique from other forms of exercise. The primary differences were that HA dancers more strongly emphasized artistic and spiritual components of dance, whereas PD dancers focused on the importance of the dance instructors and tailoring movements to individuals with PD. More differences were found between the two groups with respect to the negative aspects of dance classes. Notably, PD dancers identified almost no negative aspects, while HA dancers described internal and external pressure, criticism, and competition as problematic. Future research could benefit from ensuring that both groups are administered the same standardized measures to allow for additional comparisons between groups and with normative samples.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Taylor Marie Mastin

File size

138 p.

File format





Counseling Psychology, Dance, Mental Health