Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Background: Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that is characterized by a variety of physical and cognitive symptoms. Research supports the use of non-contact boxing for symptom management of Parkinson’s disease, but no research is available that examines the social and community impact of non-contact boxing on individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of individuals with Parkinson’s disease on their experiences within a community based, non-contact boxing program. Specifically, this study considered how these individuals perceived non-contact boxing to influence their social and community engagement and factors influencing ongoing participation in this program.

Theoretical Framework: This study used the Model of Human Occupation as the guiding framework.

Methods: This was a phenomenological study that utilized qualitative method for data collection including semi-structured interviews and observation. Colaizzi’s method was used for data analysis.

Results: The exhaustive description of the phenomenon was: “I fought to get in here” because occupations are important. Three themes were identified which included (1) “Parkinson’s Disease is not pretty. You know what the destination is, but we also got a journey to get there, (2) “I don’t have to be Muhammed Ali. It’s not about that”, and (3) “The people I’ve met here and spending time with will be friends forever.”

Conclusions: Individuals with Parkinson’s disease involved in non-contact boxing believed that both old and new occupations were important for a variety of reasons. Noncontact boxing was an occupation that individuals with Parkinson’s disease perceived as valuable and beneficial.

Faculty Mentor

Melba G. Custer

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Dana M. Howell

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)