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Phases in Physical Activity Initiation and Maintenance Among Men with Serious Mental Illness

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There is increasing interest in the role of physical activity in mental health promotion, and research suggests that regular participation can provide mental and physical health benefits. However, there is little information on how people with serious mental illness might negotiate the challenges of initiating and maintaining physical activity. This article describes an ethnographic study which explored how four men with serious mental illness successfully incorporated physical activity into their lives. Seven phases characterised the process of initiating and maintaining participation: (i) previous experience of positive physical activity, (ii) cessation of physical activity during acute stage/s of illness, (iii) stabilisation of mental health, (iv) intensive social support, (v) immediate psychosocial benefits, (vi) diversification of physical activity forms and (vii) increasing personal control. These phases are discussed with the intention of providing guidance for those interested in offering and facilitating physical activity opportunities for men with serious mental illness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion co-ordinates the dissemination of new research outcomes to all those involved in policy making and the implementation of mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention policies. It is essential reading for those with a personal or professional interest in this work.

    Peer reviewed by an expert international board, the Journal is a comprehensive information system which publishes material of distinction submitted by clinical/medical staff, health services researchers, managers, health promoters, educationalists, sociologists, health economists and practitioners from all branches of health and social care.

    The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion is designed to increase awareness, foster understanding and promote collaboration between the different disciplines engaged in this diverse activity of study.

    The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion is published four times a year and is an official research journal of The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).

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