Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Jill Slaboda, Coordinator

Advisor 2

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of various attentional focus strategies on balance in people with PD. Forty-nine adults with idiopathic PD were randomized into one of four groups (internal focus, external focus, no focus, and control). The three intervention groups participated in a month-long balance program. The outcomes measured were the Sensory Organization Test, Berg Balance Scale, self selected gait velocity, Dynamic Gait Index, Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale and obstacle course completion time. These outcomes were measured at baseline, post intervention, 2-weeks post intervention, and 8-weeks post intervention. Statistical analyses yielded no significant differences among the groups. This study demonstrated that attentional focus instructions may not have a long-term effect on balance in individuals with PD. It also suggests that a standardized balance program including treadmill training, an obstacle course, and standing balance activities may not be sufficient to improve gait and balance in people with PD.


Neuromuscular diseases -- Physical therapy; Parkinson's disease -- Treatment; Physical therapy


Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Therapy | Physiotherapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy




This clinical trial was made possible by an American Parkinson’s Disease Association Research Grant. The authors would like to thank Dustin Miller, DPT, and Tarah Badger, DPT, for their help with recruitment and administration of the treatment portion of the trial. The authors would also like to thank Gabriele Wulf, PhD, for her assistance in the design of the trial.