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Australas Psychiatry. 2014 Feb;22(1):71-7. doi: 10.1177/1039856213510575. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

Why don't people diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs) get enough exercise?

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  • 1Research Fellow, Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



Our aim was to assess physical activity, attitudes and future intentions among a sample of individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs).


A cross-sectional interview was conducted with a convenience sample of 49 adults with SSDs and in receipt of community mental health services. Interview questions elicited information about exercise behaviour across time, including reasons for expressed preferences.


Participants reported variable current physical activities. They were much more likely to report past exercise than current exercise or intentions for future exercise. Participants were more likely to report physical than psychological benefits as incentives for exercise. Social influence and the opportunity for social interaction emerged as reasons for exercising. Barriers to exercise included physical health problems, disinterest and one's psychiatric illness.


Community mental health services should routinely integrate targeted interventions that promote exercise. Social support for exercise, strategies to increase self-efficacy and education about the multifaceted benefits of exercise are necessary considerations in the development of such interventions.


exercise; physical activity; schizoaffective disorder; schizophrenia; schizophrenia spectrum disorders; sedentary lifestyle

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