Background: Recent United Kingdom Government Policy documents have emphasized the need to improve the physical health of patients with mental illness. Although physical health could be improved by increasing physical activity levels, uptake of widely available community-based activity programmes is low in this patient population.
Aims: To investigate the barriers to uptake of and adherence to physical activity in community-dwelling patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Methods: Qualitative study on 27 community dwelling patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia from four Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) in Edinburgh. Patients were individually interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Themes and sub themes from the interviews were identified using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).
Results: Four barriers to physical activity uptake were identified: limited experience of physical activity engagement, impact of the illness and effects of medication, effects of anxiety and the influences of support networks.
Conclusion: These patients experience complex barriers to physical activity uptake which need to be considered in the design of physical activity interventions to target obesity and related physical health problems.