Physical activity and quality of life in long-term hospitalized patients with severe mental illness: a cross-sectional study [2017]

Increasing physical activity in patients with severe mental illness is believed to have positive effects on physical health, psychiatric symptoms and as well quality of life. Till now, little is known about the relationship between physical activity and quality of life in long-term hospitalized patients with severe mental illness and knowledge of the determinants of behavioural change is lacking. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the relationship between objectively measured physical activity and quality of life, and explore modifiable psychological determinants of change in physical activity in long-term hospitalized patients with severe mental illness.

In 184 inpatients, physical activity was measured using an accelerometer (ActiGraph GTX+). Quality of life was assessed by EuroQol-5D and WHOQol-Bref. Attitude and perceived self-efficacy towards physical activity were collected using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale and the Multidimensional Self Efficacy Questionnaire, respectively. Patient and disease characteristics were derived retrospectively from electronic patient records. Associations and potential predictors were analysed using hierarchical regression.

Physical activity was positively related with and a predictor of all quality of life outcomes except on the environmental domain, independent of patient and disease characteristics. However, non-linear relationships showed that most improvement in quality of life lies in the change from sedentary to light activity. Attitude and self-efficacy were not related to physical activity.

Physical activity is positively associated with quality of life, especially for patients in the lower spectrum of physical activity. An association between attitude and self-efficacy and physical activity was absent. Therefore, results suggest the need of alternative, more integrated and (peer-)supported interventions to structurally improve physical activity in this inpatient population. Slight changes from sedentary behaviour to physical activity may be enough to improve quality of life.

Jeroen Deenik, Frank Kruisdijk, Diederik Tenback, Annemarie Braakman-Jansen, Erik Taal, Marijke Hopman-Rock, Aartjan Beekman, Erwin Tak, Ingrid Hendriksen & Peter van Harten
BMC Psychiatry, volume 17, Article number: 298 (2017)