Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify strategies for encouraging greater levels of physical activity among community-dwelling individuals living with serious mental illness participating in assertive community treatment (ACT). Method: Eighteen individuals living with serious mental illness participated in focus group interviews. Participants were recruited from an ACT provider located in the Midwestern United States. A semistructured interview protocol was developed specifically for this study. Participants responded to a series of questions on ACT physical activity programming, providing (a) information about their personal experiences with physical activity-related interventions and (b) suggestions for intervention strategies that may enhance physical activity participation in this population. Consensual qualitative research conventions, a qualitative methodology used in social sciences, were followed for organizing, coding, quantifying, and interpreting participant responses. Results: Several unique themes emerged from the data. Participants identified a variety of strategies used by their ACT provider to encourage physical activity, such as group physical activities and incentive programs. A number of recommendations related to skills training, intervention characteristics, and motivational strategies were identified by the participants as well. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Physical activity is an important part of successful treatment for individuals with serious mental illness. In this study, participants identified a variety of strategies that may be useful for incorporating within the ACT treatment paradigm. Participant responses were frequently consistent with the tenets of popular health behavior theory (e.g., self-determination theory). Future research should focus on the efficacy of the recommended intervention strategies and their implementation within ACT treatment settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health