Social and psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with Parkinson's disease: a scoping review

S. K. Brooks*, D. Weston, N. Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic caused countries across the globe to impose restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, with people instructed to stay at home and reduce contact with others. This reduction in social contact has the potential to negatively impact mental health and well-being. The restrictions are particularly concerning for people with existing chronic illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, who may be especially affected by concerns about the pandemic and associated reduction of social contact. The aim of this review was to synthesise published literature on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social and psychological well-being of people with Parkinson's disease. 

Study design: The design of this study is a scoping review. 

Methods: We searched five electronic databases for English language articles containing primary data on this topic. 

Results: Thirty-one relevant studies were found and included in the review. Six main themes were identified: impact of the pandemic on physical and mental health; COVID-19 concerns; access to health care; impact on daily and social activities; impact on physical activity and impact on caregivers. Levels of perceived risk of COVID-19 differed across studies, but most participants had adopted preventive measures such as staying at home and reducing social contacts. Participants in many studies reported a discontinuation of regular healthcare appointments and physiotherapy, as well as concerns about being able to obtain medication. Loss of daily activities and social support was noted by many participants. There was mixed evidence on the impact of the pandemic on physical exercise, with some studies finding no change in physical activity and others reporting a reduction; generally, participants with reduced physical activity had poorer mental health and greater worsening of symptoms. Caregivers of people with Parkinson's disease were more likely to be negatively affected by the pandemic if they cared for people with complex needs such as additional mental health problems. 

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has had negative effects on the physical and mental health of people with Parkinson's disease, perhaps due to disruption of healthcare services, loss of usual activities and supports and reduction in physical activity. We make recommendations for policy, practice and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health
Early online date1 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: S.K.B., D.W. and N.G. are part funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between Public Health England, King's College London and the University of East Anglia. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care. D.W. is also a member of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol. The funding source had no involvement in study design; collection, analysis or interpretation of data; writing the report or the decision to submit the article for publication.

Open Access: No Open Access licence.

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citation: S.K. Brooks, D. Weston, N. Greenberg, Social and psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with Parkinson's disease: a scoping review, Public Health, Volume 199,
2021, Pages 77-86, ISSN 0033-3506.



  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Mental health
  • Pandemic
  • Parkinson disease
  • Psychological impact
  • Scoping review
  • Well-being


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