The major impact of freezing of gait on quality of life in Parkinson’s disease

Courtney C. Walton, James M. Shine, Julie M. Hall, Claire O’Callaghan, Loren Mowszowski, Moran Gilat, Jennifer Y Y Szeto, Sharon L. Naismith, Simon J G Lewis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Freezing of gait (FOG) is a disabling motor symptom experienced by a large proportion of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). While it is known that FOG contributes to lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL), previous studies have not accounted for other important factors when measuring the specific impact of this symptom. The aim of this study was to examine FOG and HRQoL while controlling for other factors that are known to impact patient well-being, including cognition, motor severity, sleep disturbance and mood. Two hundred and three patients with idiopathic PD (86 with FOG) were included in the study. All patients were between Hoehn and Yahr stages I–III. A forced entry multiple regression model evaluating the relative contribution of all symptoms was conducted, controlling for time since diagnosis and current dopaminergic treatment. Entering all significantly correlated variables into the regression model accounted for the majority of variance exploring HRQoL. Self-reported sleep–wake disturbances, depressive and anxious symptoms and FOG were individually significant predictors. FOG accounted for the highest amount of unique variance. While sleep–wake disturbance and mood have a significant negative impact on HRQoL in PD, the emergence of FOG represents the most substantial predictor among patients in the earlier clinical stages of disease. This finding presumably reflects the disabling loss of independence and fear of injury associated with FOG and underlines the importance of efforts to reduce this common symptom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Freezing of gait
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Quality of life
  • Sleep


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