The impact of exercise on the mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness: a critical review

Alexandratos, Kristy, Barnett, Fiona, and Thomas, Yvonne (2012) The impact of exercise on the mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness: a critical review. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75 (2). pp. 48-60.

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Abstract

Introduction: Physical exercise has been proven to benefit the general population in terms of mental health and wellbeing. However, there is little research investigating the impact of exercise on mental health and quality of life for people who experience a severe and enduring mental illness.

Method: This review aims to describe the effect of physical exercise intervention on the mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness. Quantitative and qualitative articles published between 1998-2009 were sourced using electronic databases. Articles were included if the study intervention involved exercise and the outcome measure included mental health or quality of life. Sixteen articles were analysed for common themes and appraised critically.

Findings: The findings show that exercise can contribute to improvements in symptoms, including mood, alertness, concentration, sleep patterns and psychotic symptoms. Exercise can also contribute to improved quality of life through social interaction, meaningful use of time, purposeful activity and empowerment.

Implications: Future research is warranted to describe the way exercise can meet the unique needs of this population. Studies with a focus on psychological outcome measures would provide greater evidence for its use in therapy.

Item ID: 20027
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1477-6006
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2012 03:20
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 1
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