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BACKGROUND: Patients diagnosed with psychosis often spend less time than others engaged in exercise and more time sitting down, which likely contributes to poorer physical and mental health. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive framework from the perspective of patients, carers, and staff for understanding what promotes movement and physical activity. METHODS: A critical realist approach was taken to design the study. Interviews (n=23) and focus groups (n=12) were conducted with (1) outpatients aged 16 years or older diagnosed with psychosis, and under the care of a mental health team, (2) carers and (3) mental health staff working in the community. Purposive sampling was used to maximise variation in participant characteristics. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. FINDINGS: 19 patients (9 women and 10 men, mean age=45·0 (SD=12·2) years, 15 White British, 2 Black African, 1 Pakistani and 1 other ethnic group), 14 carers (11 women and 3 men, mean age=59·9 (SD=12·7) years, 13 White British and 1 Asian) and 18 staff (14 women and 4 men, mean age=38·7 (SD=12·3) years, 15 White British, 1 White other, 1 Asian Bangladeshi and 1 other Asian) participated in the study. Five factors were found to promote movement and physical activity. Patients must be able to find a purpose to moving which is meaningful to them (Factor 1: Purpose). Patients need to have an expectation of the positive consequences of movement and physical activity, which can be influenced by others' expectations (Factor 2: Predictions). A patient's current physical (eg, pain) and emotional state (eg, distress about voices) needs to be addressed to allow movement and physical activity (Factor 3: Present state). Movement and physical activity can also be encouraged by the availability of effective and tailored support, provided by engaged and supported people (Factor 4: Provision). Finally, through the identification and interruption of vicious cycles (eg, between inactivity and mood states) more positive cycles can be put in place (Factor 5: Process). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The 5 P (Purpose, Predictions, Present state, Provision and Process Physical Activity Framework) for understanding movement and physical activity for people diagnosed with psychosis has the potential to inform future research and guide interventions. A checklist is provided for clinicians to help foster change in activity levels.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Ment Health

Publication Date





Adult psychiatry, Schizophrenia & psychotic disorders, Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Ethnicity, Exercise, Mental Health, Psychotic Disorders, Aged