Participation in Physical Activity among Inpatients with Severe Mental Illness : a Pilot Study





International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation;18 (2)


Mark Allen Healthcare



Aims: Severe mental illness is associated with low levels of physical activity. This study explored participation in a physical activity programme among patients with severe mental illness and its relationships to other variables. Methods: Eighteen hospitalized patients participated in the study. Their level of participation in a physical activity programme was explored and their age and anxiety and depression levels were used to predict participation. Findings: The patients had low levels of participation. Seventy-eight percent attended 50 percent or less of the activities, while the sample mean level was 28 percent participation. Participation in the programme increased with age. Conclusions: This pilot study has several limitations, most importantly the limited sample size. A greater variety in activities offered and better inclusion of personal activity preferences may increase motivation to participate among younger patients. Adequate social support may counteract barriers related to anxiety and depression symptoms, and thus increase participation. Recommendations for future research include undertaking larger scale studies exploring the relationships between physical activity and other variables, and to investigate processes of motivation for physical activity among patients in this group.



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