A qualitative examination of apathy and physical activity in Huntington's and Parkinson's disease

Kelly J. Atkins, Ciarán P. Friel, Sophie C. Andrews, Trevor T.J. Chong, Julie C. Stout, Lori Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: In Huntington's disease (HD) and Parkinson's disease (PD), apathy is a frequently cited barrier to participation in physical activity. Current diagnostic criteria emphasize dissociable variants of apathy that differentially affect goal-directed behavior. How these dimensions present and affect physical activity in HD and PD is unknown. Methods: Using a qualitative approach, we examined the experience of apathy and its impact on physical activity in 20 people with early-manifest HD or idiopathic PD. Results: Two major themes emerged: the multidimensionality of apathy, including initiation or goal-identification difficulties, and the interplay of apathy and fatigue; and facilitators of physical activity, including routines, safe environments and education. Conclusion: Physical activity interventions tailored to apathy phenotypes may maximize participant engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalNeurodegenerative Disease Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Huntington disease
  • Intervention
  • Motivation
  • Parkinson disease
  • Physical activity

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