AIM: To examine the evidence for incentives and barriers to lifestyle interventions for people with severe mental illness.
BACKGROUND: People with severe mental illnesses, particularly those with schizophrenia, have poorer physical health than the general population with increased mortality and morbidity rates. Social and lifestyle factors are reported to contribute to this health inequality, though antipsychotic therapy poses additional risk to long-term physical health. Many behavioural lifestyle interventions including smoking cessation, exercise programmes and weight-management programmes have been delivered to this population with promising results. Surprisingly little attention has been given to factors that may facilitate or prevent engagement with these interventions in this population.
DATA SOURCES: Eight electronic databases were searched [1985-March 2009] along with the Cochrane Library and Google Scholar. Electronic 'hand' searches of key journals and explosion of references were undertaken.
REVIEW METHODS: A narrative synthesis of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies was undertaken.
RESULTS: No studies were identified that specifically explored the incentives and barriers to participation in lifestyle intervention for this population. Existing literature report some possible incentives and barriers including: illness symptoms, treatment effects, lack of support and negative staff attitudes as possible barriers; and symptom reduction, peer and staff support, knowledge, personal attributes and participation of staff as possible incentives.
CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare professionals, in particular nurses, should consider issues that may hinder or encourage individuals in this clinical group to participate in lifestyle interventions if the full benefits are to be achieved. Further research is needed to explore possible incentives and barriers from the service users' own perspective.