Physical Activity Preferences and Perceived Barriers to Activity Among Persons With Severe Mental Illness in the United Kingdom

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 2.41). 04/2007; 58(3):405-8. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


This study assessed physical activity interests among psychiatric patients.
A cross-sectional survey of 120 psychiatric patients in the United Kingdom assessed preferences for physical activity, perceived barriers to activity, and other psychosocial factors related to exercise levels.
Compared with the general population, respondents were less active. Respondents reported very little confidence in their ability to exercise when feeling sad or stressed, and they reported low levels of social support toward exercising. Approximately half the respondents or more expressed a belief in the health benefits of exercise, enjoyment of exercise, and a desire to be more active. Walking was the most popular activity, and fatigue and illness were the most common barriers to activity. Equal numbers preferred individual and group activities. A majority agreed that they would exercise more if they talked with an exercise instructor or were advised by their doctor.
Physical activity interventions for the psychiatric population need to bridge the gap between high interest and low uptake through, for example, professional support and enhancing self-efficacy by combating barriers and tailoring to preferences.

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Available from: Michael Ussher, Sep 18, 2014
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    • "Physical disability, medication sideeffects , poor mental health and conflict with health professional appointments were also identified as further barriers to physical activity. These findings are consistent with other research with adults with mental illness (Carpiniello et al. 2013; McDevitt et al. 2006; Ussher et al. 2007) and a study of physical therapists perceptions of barriers to physical activity among persons with schizophrenia (Soundy et al. 2014). Understanding these physical activity barriers may help health professionals to develop strategies that make it easier for their patients to adopt and maintain activity while in hospital. "
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    ABSTRACT: The life expectancy of adults with mental illness is worse than that of the general population and is largely due to poor physical health status. Physical activity has been consistently recommended for the prevention and management of many chronic physical health conditions and can also have benefits for mental health. This cross sectional study assessed the attitudes towards and preferences for physical activity among inpatient adults with mental illness, and differences by distress and gender. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 101 patients. Findings indicated that inpatient adults with mental illness are interested in doing physical activity while in hospital, primarily to maintain good physical health and improve emotional wellbeing. Fewer than half of participants agreed that physical activity has benefits for serious mental illness. Participants indicated a preference for walking and physical activity that can be done alone, at a fixed time and with a set routine and format. Major barriers were fatigue and lack of motivation. Females were more likely than males to prefer activities done with others of the same gender (P = 0.001) and at the same level of ability (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences by level of distress. These findings can inform physical activity intervention programming in hospital settings, which may contribute to decreasing the chronic disease burden and improve the psychological wellbeing in adults with mental illness. © 2015 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
    International journal of mental health nursing 10/2015; 24(5):413-20. DOI:10.1111/inm.12158 · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    • "The inverse relationships found between the age of the participants and the perception of accessibility barriers can be explained by the fact that, for older participants, factors that were correlated with accessibility barriers, such as their appraisal of body weight, may be less important. As in other studies (McDevitt et al., 2006; Ussher et al., 2007), the qualitative findings of this study indicate that persons with SMI experience difficulties to becoming involved in physical activities as a result of their mental illness. In addition, the interaction between their mental health and their physical health (e.g. the side effects of medications) and systemic factors in their living situation was illuminated by the participants as barriers to physical activities. "
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    ABSTRACT: Participating in physical activities could be essential for reducing the multiple risk factors for health problems that persons with severe mental illness (SMI) may suffer. However, people with SMI are significantly less active than the general population. To develop knowledge about factors related to the perceived barriers hindering this population's participation in physical activities and the benefits this participation would have, a study was conducted in Israel with 86 people with mental illness living in community mental health facilities prior to their participation in a health promotion program. A mixed method was implemented and included: a scale designed to measure participants' perceptions of the barriers to and benefits of involvement in physical activities; instruments focusing on bio-psycho-social factors that may affect the level of barriers experienced; and personal interviews. The findings revealed high ranking for accessibility barriers hindering the participation in physical activities. Bio-psycho-social factors stemming from the participants' mental health, such as level of depression, were correlated with higher ranking of accessibility barriers. Bio-psycho-social factors reflecting positive mental health and health, such as positive appraisal of body weight, were correlated with lower ranking of accessibility barriers. Other barriers may include organizational and broader systemic barriers in the mental health facilities where the participants reside. These findings illuminate the need to consider the unique challenges that persons with mental illness may face in any attempt to advance their involvement in physical activity.
    Health Promotion International 09/2014; DOI:10.1093/heapro/dau078 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    • "The first subsection comprises 11 items where participants are asked to respond on a five-point Likert scale with anchors at 1 ¼ 'Strongly disagree' to 5 ¼ 'Strongly agree', to statements regarding their perceptions about barriers to exercise prescription for people with a mental illness. The second subsection comprises 12 items regarding the barriers to exercise participation experienced by people with a mental illness which were identified from previous literature (Glover, Ferron, & Whitley, 2013; H ebert et al., 2012; Ussher, Stanbury, Cheeseman, & Faulkner, 2007; Vancampfort et al., 2012). Participants are asked to respond on a five-point Likert scale with anchors at 1 ¼ 'Strongly disagree' to 5 ¼ 'Strongly agree', regarding their level of agreement with statements about barriers to exercise previously identified by people with a mental illness. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of health professionals are important in the successful application of exercise programs for the treatment of people with mental illness. We developed the Exercise in Mental Illness Questionnaire-Health Professionals Version (EMIQ-HP) in response to the lack of a comprehensive, valid and reliable instrument to assess the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of health professionals. Methods Content validation was achieved by expert consensus. Test-retest reliability was calculated using intraclass correlation coefficients. Results Thirty health professionals completed the questionnaire on two occasions separated by seven days. With the exception of one item, ICCs ranged from 0.61 to 1.00 suggesting excellent test-retest reliability. Conclusions We propose the EMIQ-HP may be used to assess the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of health professional regarding the prescription of exercise of people with mental illness. Further trialling and psychometric testing is recommended.
    Mental Health and Physical Activity 06/2014; 7(3). DOI:10.1016/j.mhpa.2014.06.001
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